Pantera Capital Leads $16.5M Investment in ZK-Powered DEX Brine Fi at $100M Valuation

The investment comes at a time when crypto venture capital has mostly dried up and trading volumes have plunged.

AccessTimeIconSep 7, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 7, 2023 at 1:26 p.m. UTC

Decentralized exchange (DEX) Brine Fi has raised $16.5 million at a valuation of $100 million in an investment round led by Pantera Capital, the company said Thursday in a press release.

Elevation Capital, StarkWare Ltd, Spartan Group, Goodwater Capital, Upsparks Ventures, Protofund Ventures were among those also participating in the fundraising round.

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  • The fresh funding is notable given that venture capital for digital asset firms has mostly dried up, with cryptocurrency and blockchain startups receiving 76% less investment in Q2 2023 than the same period one year earlier, Crunchbase reported in July.

    Trading volumes have also plummeted to multi-year lows during the summer as the crypto bear market has moved into the apathy stage thanks to a lack of catalysts to attract investors. After enjoying a brief increase in the spring this year, volumes on DEXs have since sharply dropped and averaged at just above $1 billion per day recently, according to DefiLlama data. Most of the trading volume is still concentrated on centralized platforms such as Binance and Coinbase, executing near $11 billion daily trading volume, data by The Block shows.

    Brine Fi, powered by Ethereum scaling system StarkWare, is a non-custodial, decentralized orderbook that allows privacy for trading positions via so-called zero-knowledge proofs. Traders can thus place large orders without worrying about front-running or spooking others. The platform also boasts high-speed trade execution. It opened for traders in May, and recently executed $3 million - $4 million daily trading volume.

    “Brine tackles some of the most important challenges holding back institutional and mainstream user adoption in DeFi,” Paul Veradittakit, managing partner at Pantera Capital, said in a statement. “There's an urgent demand for a self-custodial execution layer that is faster, more reliable, user-friendly, and cost-effective.”

    Edited by Stephen Alpher.

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    Krisztian  Sandor

    Krisztian Sandor is a reporter on the U.S. markets team focusing on stablecoins and institutional investment. He holds BTC and ETH.