Alameda Research doubles down on Maps.me, invests $40 million in Oxygen

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How a lot are 140 million customers value? 

After a $50 million direct funding in journey app Maps.me earlier within the 12 months, Alameda Analysis has introduced right now a $40 million funding in decentralized finance protocol Oxygen, a Solana-based lending platform that can plug into the app. 

Much like lending protocols corresponding to Aave and Compound, “Oxygen will first provide borrow-lending providers through swimming pools, by which customers will deposit their property and leverage Serum’s on-chain infrastructure to lend in keeping with their desired phrases. Customers may also concurrently lend to generate yield whereas borrowing in opposition to their portfolios,” reads the announcement.

Whereas the specifics are exhausting to return by on official channels, Oxygen additionally boasts a number of deliberate options together with cross-chain integrations with Ethereum-native protocols like Aave and Yearn, choices writing, and totally decentralized governance. The protocol is at the moment within the Alpha stage with the biggest debt pool listed at $1,000.

Alameda Analysis was joined within the spherical by funding corporations MultiCoin Capital, Genesis Capital and CMS Holdings. 

“Oxygen would be the most subtle and chic threat administration instrument in DeFi – with a powerful workforce, rising liquid ecosystem and enormous potential person base we consider that is the subsequent step in mass adoption,” stated Alameda Analysis CEO Sam Bankman-Fried of the acquisition.

Customers, customers, customers

The $40 million funding comes after a $50 million investment in Maps.me Alameda Research introduced in January. Mixed with the $20 million Oxygen co-founder Alex Grebnev reportedly paid to accumulate Maps, the workforce has now invested into the app at a price of over $.78 cents for every of Maps’ reported 140 million customers. 

Whereas many within the crypto group discovered the preliminary funding puzzling — it stays unclear if customers of a journey app need or want DeFi performance — Grebnev believes the person numbers are key to unlocking long-term value:

“Presently, DeFi area has at most circa 1 million customers. How a lot would the Oxygen/Maps ecosystem be value if Maps.me’s 140 million registered customers began leveraging the protocol / platform?”

A part of the user-focused technique may be a results of Grebnev’s earlier efforts with Oxygen. In 2018, he launched a peer-to-peer lending service with the identical title, however demand and product-market match did not materialize. He lists various potential causes:

“First, it was a enterprise mannequin that didn’t scale – non-custodial peer to look borrowing / lending of particular person property with no matching engine. Second, the market went down 80% from the time after we began working until 6 months later after we had been able to launch. Third, institutional demand which all people was anticipating – didn’t come via. We determined to pause the undertaking.”

Embedded (de)finance

With Maps.me and a brand new model of Oxygen seeking to replicate prime brokerage providers, Grebnev is hoping for a special final result. He says that inner analysis signifies that 47% of present Maps.me customers “need monetary providers.” He factors to comparable user-jacking efforts which are widespread amongst tradfi corporations. 

“Embedded finance is a giant theme. Take QuickBooks introducing financial institution accounts. Or Apple providing bank cards. Corporations leverage their userbases to supply related monetary providers,” he stated.

What’s extra, within the context of tradfi user-acquisition, the mixture $110 million Alameda Analysis and Grebnev have invested into the journey app may very well be a discount:

“These transactions enabled us to construct an ecosystem that integrates DeFi instruments with a person base of greater than 100 million registered customers. It took PayPal 20 years and billions of USD to get to 300m customers. It took Revolut 5 years and a whole bunch of tens of millions to get to 12 million registered customers.”

Oxygen’s OXY governance token is at the moment out there to pick out presale individuals. The token may have an IEO on March eleventh, following which it will likely be out there on FTX, BitMax, and Serum DEX, per Grebnev.