Pantera Leads $5M Round in MetaLend, Supporting Web2 Veterans Building Bank for Digital Economy

MetaLend, the bank for the new digital economy, recently announced the closing of a $5 million seed round of financing, “led by Pantera Capital.”

MetaLend’s investment round also included contributions from Collab+Currency, investor and board member of Sky Mavis; Ancient8, Vietnam’s largest gaming guild, and angels “such as David Choi, co-founder of MetaStreet (the largest liquidity provider against art-based NFTs).”

Founded in December 2021, the MetaLend protocol “enables traders to use NFTs as collateral to take out loans, starting with a focus on the GameFi sector.”

MetaLend empowers NFT owners “to continue to utilize their assets to generate yield while the assets are being used as collateral for the loans.”

After receiving an appraisal of their digital assets by MetaLend, traders are able “to borrow up to 30% of the value of their NFT, with loans being disbursed in ETH.”

Based on these loans, liquidity is “provided by lenders looking to earn interest, APY is set by utilization of the liquidity pool with an anticipated range of 5-10%.”

More than half of all crypto wallets created in the second half of 2021 “were for play-to-earn use cases, driven by mass adoption of GameFi.”

With an initial focus on Axie Infinity, MetaLend works “with game guilds and scholar programs that are looking for additional liquidity to grow their already profitable operations, and plans to expand to other games and use cases wherever NFTs are adopted.”

By providing over-collateralized loans against NFTs, MetaLend “works directly with gaming guilds to support their capital needs and grow their businesses, as well as individual play-to-earn NFT owners looking to tap into day-to-day liquidity for daily life needs.”

As a global-facing protocol, MetaLend works “with guilds and gamers from around the world, helping them solve their financial needs.”

The company is in partnership “with Vietnam’s Ancient8 to provide the guild and its users with loan solutions, and plans to sign with more guilds in the near-term.”

Beyond Axie Infinity, MetaLend will “expand its coverage to other play-to-earn games in the coming months, tapping into gaming communities and guilds around the world.”

The team is also “developing new features such as ‘buy now pay later’ (BNPL) service offerings, which will allow gamers to purchase NFTs on installment payments and reduce the barrier to entry into GameFi and other NFT-based applications.”

MetaLend is currently “in closed beta and will be launching to the public in Q2 of this year.”

MetaLend is led by “a team of experienced web2 veterans, including co-founders Sudjeev Singh (previously Head of Growth & Marketplace at Bird) and Nikhil Bhardwaj (previously right-hand man to Ring CTO running 500+ people engineering org).”

The team brings together “the best practices and experience from web2 pedigree with the ethos of Web3.”

Sudjeev Singh, co-founder, MetaLend, stated:

“In the long term we believe everything from intellectual property to physical land ownership will be represented via NFTs. Royal and CityDAO are just two organizations that have already had success in expanding the potential of NFTs in these ways, as these use cases continue to emerge we see MetaLend becoming the bank for asset owners of the new digital economy.”

Nikhil Bhardwaj, co-founder, MetaLend, remarked:

“Blockchain is fundamentally rewriting how technology works in a way that we haven’t seen since the introduction of the internet, and what’s most exciting is that early builders will be the ones who directly determine what that future will look like. We are seeing significant brain drain from ‘Big Tech’ and we at MetaLend are acting as a beachhead for that talent to come and retool their expertise around the promise of blockchain. We are grateful for the support of our backers and their belief in the capability of Web2 entrepreneurs to thrive in the Web3 era.”

With this round of financing, MetaLend will focus “on product development, bring on new talent across all functions, and ramp up marketing efforts.”

MetaLend will be “recruiting individuals passionate about web3 from both crypto and web2 backgrounds, upskilling technical talent from web2 backgrounds with web3 best practices.”

Paul Veradittakit, Partner at Pantera Capital, noted:

“MetaLend allows NFTs to be utilized and leveraged in a new way that brings value to the entire play-to-earn ecosystem. As the use cases for NFTs grow, many will turn to protocols like MetaLend to access liquidity for their assets. We’re excited to see stellar web2 talent like the MetaLend team focusing on the NFT ecosystem to expand the technology’s capabilities and support this emergent asset class.”

Stephen McKeon, Partner at Collab+Currency, added:

“We believe that play-to-earn will expand substantially in the coming years, and that the number of game asset owners will expand concomitantly. MetaLend is well positioned to provide financial services to this growing ecosystem and we couldn’t be more excited to join Sudjeev and Nikhil on this journey.”

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