Pantera Capital leads $16.5 million round for StarkWare-powered DEX Brine Fi

Quick Take

  • Decentralized exchange Brine Fi raised a $16.5 million Series A funding round at a $100 million valuation, led by Pantera Capital.
  • The platform aims to provide enhanced privacy using zero-knowledge technology.

Decentralized exchange Brine Fi secured $16.5 million at a $100 million valuation in a Series A funding round led by Pantera Capital.

Elevation Capital, StarkWare, Spartan Group, Goodwater Capital, Upsparks Ventures and Protofund Ventures also participated in the round, according to a statement.

"Brine tackles some of the most important challenges holding back institutional and mainstream user adoption in DeFi," Pantera Capital Managing Partner Paul Veradittakit said. "There's an urgent demand for a self-custodial execution layer that is faster, more reliable, user-friendly and cost-effective."

As an order book-based spot DEX, Brine Fi enables users to directly execute orders with other traders in a similar way to centralized exchanges but onchain, retaining full custody of their crypto assets while placing trades. This contrasts with the dominant automated market maker DEX model, using liquidity pool smart contracts to facilitate the decentralized trading of specific token pairs.

Brine Fi's order book platform launched two weeks ago, with $575,000 in total value locked (funds deposited) and a daily trading volume of $1 to $3 million, according to DeFiLlama data.

Zero-knowledge transaction privacy

Brine Fi also leverages zero-knowledge proofs, powered by Ethereum ETH -0.26% scaling developer StarkWare, to address frontrunning — where another trader gets their order executed first at a better price due to the public nature of onchain transactions. Brine Fi uses the zk tech to enable privacy in trading positions, allowing traders to execute high-volume orders without getting front-run, the team said. 

Brine Fi also offers gasless (zero transaction fee) trades, with trading fees set at 0.05%, the team added.


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Crypto venture capital funding and DEX trading volume decline

The investment in Brine Fi comes despite crypto venture capital funding falling for the fourth consecutive month in August. Venture funding for crypto startups came in at less than $500 million last month — a low point not seen in over two years. 

DEX trading volume has also been struggling, falling for three months straight to $22 billion in August, according to The Block's data dashboard. 

Centralized exchange volume is down too, though DEX volume has fallen faster since May, dropping below 15% of CEX spot trade volume in August.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

James Hunt is a reporter at The Block, based in the UK. As the writer behind The Daily newsletter, James also keeps you up to speed on the latest crypto news every weekday. Prior to joining The Block in 2022, James spent four years as a freelance writer in the industry, contributing to both publications and crypto project content. James’ coverage spans everything from Bitcoin and Ethereum to Layer 2 scaling solutions, avant-garde DeFi protocols, evolving DAO governance structures, trending NFTs and memecoins, regulatory landscapes, crypto company deals and the immersive metaverse. You can get in touch with James on Twitter or Telegram via @humanjets or email him at [email protected].


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