March 29, 2022 — ZkLend, the money market protocol building on StarkNet, has raised $5 million in a seed-funding round led by Delphi Ventures, anchored by StarkWare and Three Arrows Capital.

“Zero-knowledge (zk) Rollups are the ultimate solution to true Ethereum scaling — where security is guaranteed by math, not people. Building our next-generation money market protocol on StarkNet means that we inherit Ethereum’s security and decentralization while leveraging zk-Rollups’ massive scalability potential. For the first time, it means that permissionless and secure financial services that put individual sovereignty first are within reach. Given the passionate StarkNet community, we are certain that this will be the future layer 2 (L2),” said Jane Ma, co-founder of zkLend.

Built on StarkWare’s StarkNet, zkLend will be able to scale at a factor of one to 200 of Ethereum’s usual cost while inheriting Ethereum’s high level of security.

“Additionally, our vision is to welcome the next era of finance: institutional decentralized finance (DeFi). ZkLend has two products to cater to both DeFi users and whitelisted institutional users, serving as the fundamental money lego in the emerging zk-Rollup ecosystem of decentralized apps and users,” said Brian Fu, co-founder of zkLend.

To build one of the core DeFi primitives on StarkNet, the team will launch Artemis, its permissionless lending offering, in the third quarter of 2022. Artemis will allow DeFi users to borrow against their assets in a cheap, efficient and safe way. Institutional and corporate users needing a Know Your Customer- and Anti-Money Laundering-compliant solution will be able to use Apollo, the permissioned solution expected to launch early next year. 

The protocol will adopt an innovative ouroboros model to incentivize users to participate in the targeted money market pools. Other highlighted features implemented by zkLend include double-sided borrowing and collateralization factors, protocol-to-protocol lending and variable liquidation fees. The native protocol token, ZEND, is a lynchpin of the protocol. Users staking ZEND will be able to enjoy governance, booster rate rewards and claims to the interest income earned by the pools.

“Money markets are a core component of the DeFi financial stack with strong existing product-market fit. Couple a money market with the technical prowess of StarkNet’s decentralized zk-Rollup, which is live and proven, and you have zkLend. The zkLend team is smart, polished and driven to execute and deliver on this dual-approach solution, servicing both DeFi users and institutions. Delphi is proud to be an investor and to help build zkLend,” said Tom Shaughnessy, partner and co-founder of Delphi Ventures.

The cutting-edge product and tech offer are driven by the team’s extensive experience in traditional finance, fintech and consumer startups, as well as crypto exchanges and leading DeFi protocols. 

Other major investors include Genesis Block Ventures, Alameda Research, CMS Holdings, MetaCartel DAO, DCVC, Amber Group, TPS Capital, Ascensive Assets, D3Web Capital, Fourth Revolution Capital and SkyVision Capital, among other leading Web3 angel investors. The funding from this round will go toward the launch of the aforementioned products, Artemis and Apollo, in addition to team expansion across tech, marketing and business development.

About zkLend

ZkLend is an L2 money-market protocol built on StarkNet, combining zk-Rollup scalability, superior transaction speed and cost savings with Ethereum’s security. The protocol offers a dual solution: a permissioned and compliance-focused solution for institutional clients and a permissionless service for DeFi users — all without sacrificing decentralization.

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