Non-Fungible Technologies, Inc has raised $2.75 million in seed funding from strategic blockchain-focused VCs and angel investors to build the first decentralized marketplace for loans backed by high-value NFT collateral.
Pawn.fi enables liquidity on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) leveraging smart contracts and decentralized finance (DeFi). The protocol enables a trustless, peer-to-peer marketplace for securing a crypto loan backed by one or more ERC721 tokens – the NFT standard – as well as ERC20 and ERC1155 tokens.
The round was led by Hong Kong-based Lemniscap with participation from Arrington XRP Capital, and angel investors Taureon, Alex Pack, Chris McCann, Manna, mr.block, Mariano Conti, gmoneyNFT, Marc Weinstein, Andrew Steinwold, Charles Read, and Joe Mahon. Neyma Jahan and Jordan Lyall from Nifty’s and DontBuyMeme have joined as advisors to Pawn.fi. The founding team brings together experience from companies including BitMEX, BlockFi, BitGo, Curv, Gemini, and Booz Allen Hamilton.
“By taking one of the oldest forms of lending and bringing it to the blockchain, we’re creating permissionless infrastructure to enable collateralization of any on-chain asset,” said Pawn.fi CEO Gabe Frank, a third-generation pawn broker with deep experience in facilitating collateralized loans. “There’s a lot of idle capital sitting in high-value NFT’s today. Cryptopunks, digital art and land, domain names, historic internet memes and cultural moments – the Pawn.fi protocol offers the most secure way to unlock liquidity on these types of assets.”
Collateralized lending has played an important role throughout history as a form of credit against unique assets. Similar to this model, Pawn.fi makes it easy to collateralize most NFTs to be used in more capital efficient ways within the DeFi ecosystem. But unlike traditional pawn lending, the collateral is digital and custody/settlement is governed by the blockchain.
Pawn.fi allows users to define their own loan terms including the principal amount, loan duration, rate, and funding currency. Yield-seekers can earn interest by funding individual loans on the platform. The protocol eliminates counterparty risk with smart contract escrow and settlement.
To date, more than 701,000 NFTs have been transacted, according to Coinranking.com, with over $46 million in trading volume in just the last 30 days. Digital art is a significant driver of NFT volume, with over 210,000 artworks sold totaling $710 million in sales, according to Cryptoart.io.