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.
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.”