Singapore-based lending platform Vauld raised $2 million, led by Pantera Capital, to grow into a full crypto bank. Other investors include Coinbase Ventures, LuneX Ventures and individual investors including Robert Leshner of Compound Finance.
This is part of a larger story of crypto firms seeking their own banking charters to operate as crypto-native banks. Recently, stablecoin issuer and crypto services firm Paxos and crypto payments firm BitPay filed to become federally regulated banks in the U.S.
So far, Vauld has established a foothold in India, where a favorable ruling from the courts earlier this year has unleashed a flood of crypto activity.
“Hiring is the focus of the hour in the Indian market,” Vauld co-founder and CTO Sanju Sony Kurian said in a statement.
The company, formerly known as Bank of Hodlers, will use the funds to expand from lending and borrowing to become a holistic banking platform that also includes payments and trading. Vauld also seeks to broaden its presence in Europe and the U.S.
“We see institutional capital come into the crypto space with the expectation of banking integrations to complement crypto credit offerings,” CEO Darshan Bathija said in a statement.
The company’s immediate aims include implementing an over-the-counter (OTC) desk, fiat and crypto order books, and debit and credit cards for multiple countries. The goal is for users to do all their banking on a blockchain.
Vauld goes international
Vauld intends to expand licensing across international crypto hubs including Singapore and the U.K. in the next 24 months. Bathija told CoinDesk via Telegram his company is also looking at Wyoming following the precedent of Kraken Financial and Avanti Financial.
This comes after a year in which two banking charters were approved by the Wyoming State Banking Board, granting Kraken and Avanti official status as chartered banks in the state. Vauld sees higher demand for banking functionalities for crypto assets.
Bathija said most regulators want businesses to first prove they have the governance structure to operate in full compliance, given how new crypto companies are in general. They urge companies to get lending and money transmission licenses first and “wait for a year until we start applying for the banking license,” he said.
Since its earlier investment of $500,000 from LuneX Ventures and a few angel investors in June, Vauld saw 950% growth, according to the company. Bathija said that is a “clear indication that yield products are valued and expected both in the U.S. and abroad.”
Investor Paul Veradittakit, partner at Pantera Capital, said in a press release his firm is excited about “Vauld’s vision to make cryptocurrencies the preferred instrument of banking by making it simple to use and interoperable with the current banking infrastructure.”