Trading giant Jane Street backs NEAR-based lending protocol in new funding round

Jane Street is backing an upstart project in the decentralized finance space, representing the latest sign that the global trading firm is prioritizing crypto. 

The firm has made an investment in Bastion, a decentralized lending protocol built on the NEAR blockchain. In a statement shared with The Block, the project's anonymous founder N^2 reported that the project has experienced "explosive growth," pointing to $200 million in total value locked in the protocol within the first 24 hours of its launch.

“NEAR has the highest growth potential of any Layer-1 blockchain right now. As the fastest, sharded Proof-of-Stake chain with superb infrastructure and developer experiences, NEAR has all the tools to become the next DeFi powerhouse," noted N^2.

Bastion launched its main net on March 7. 

A wide range of investors participated in the funding round, including ParaFi Capital, Digital Currency Group, and CMS. Individual investors, including The Daily Ape's Darren Lau and 0xMaki, also took part. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Jane Street's participation is notable given its position as a global market maker. Historically, the firm has refrained from speaking to the press and has mostly flown under the radar despite trading more than $17 trillion worth of securities in 2020, as noted by Robin Wigglesworth at The Financial Times. 

Still, Jane Street recently opened up to Bloomberg News about its crypto trading business with one executive noting that the firm has been "exploring working with emerging platforms, such as decentralized finance exchanges." Jane Street trader Turner Batty told the outlet that crypto has become "a clear growth area."

Jane Street was also among the 50 investors that participated in 1inch's Series B. Still, relative to competitors like Jump Trading and GSR, its venture activity has been muted.