Decentralized finance (DeFi) platform Equilibrium has raised around $8.5 million as part of the process to launch its suite of services on the Polkadot network.

Equilibrium, which calls itself a “DeFi conglomerate,” including lending, stablecoins and swaps, raised the funds over two rounds: $5.5 million was raised back in September and more recently, $2.5 million was raised from investors including CMS Holdings, LD Capital and Signum Capital.

DeFi is booming, and its growing ecosystem is looking beyond Ethereum to scaling solutions and alternative chains. Polkadot operates distinct parachains where projects will build applications connected by a relay mechanism, and is an attractive option – so attractive that an auction process will be held this year for projects to snag one of the 100 parachain slots.

Equilibrium CEO Alex Melikhov pointed out that winning a parachain slot on Polkadot is rather expensive (1 million DOT, or approximately $34 million), but that the two-step “parachain lease offering” has got the project well on the road to achieving that goal.

“We have accomplished the first phase, a straightforward swap between DOT tokens and our EQ token,” Melikhov said in an interview, adding:

“We had set the high cap for the first phase at 250,000 DOT. The hard cap for the second crowd loan phase is 750,00 DOT, which will progress as the auctions arrive on the Polkadot network around July/August.”

The funds being raised will be held in cold storage by Copper, a London-based cryptocurrency custodian, and Signum Capital will also act as a multisig gatekeeper, Melikhov said. Participants supporting the network will earn 7% return for staking their DOT, plus a further 18% APY generated from Equilibrium tokens given as rewards. 

Building a DeFi platform that does the full gamut of bank-like functions (think Maker or Synthetix on Ethereum) makes sense when you are starting out on a greenfield like Polkadot, said Melikhov, who has experience building DeFi from scratch within the EOS ecosystem.

“Bootstrapping DeFi on EOS was a really good experience, and we would love to replicate that on Polkadot, which is a slightly similar situation because nothing is in production yet,” Melikhov said. “To be honest, there’s a lot more interest in what we are building on Polkadot than there was on EOS and a much larger amount of investors.”

UPDATE (May 4, 15:10 UTC): Modifies language around September 2020 fundraise

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