Makers of Keep Protocol Raise $7.7M to Bring Trustless BTC to DeFi

With a forthcoming product that may entice more decentralized finance (DeFi) players to incorporate bitcoin-backed tokens, Thesis has closed a $7.7 million deal by selling its Keep tokens to some of crypto’s top investors.

Announced Thursday, Thesis will shortly debut TBTC, a trustless platform for making bitcoin-backed tBTC tokens on Ethereum. The private keys guarding the BTC are stored using Keep, the firm’s system for storing secrets in a usable fashion on the world computer. Few secrets are more useful and valuable than bitcoin private keys.

That said, a vocal cohort of bitcoin partisans has been very publicly skeptical of DeFi, but TBTC’s creator doesn’t think that represents the broader view. After all, more people hold bitcoin than ever before.

“The silent majority of most bitcoin and ETH people aren’t maximalists,” Matt Luongo told CoinDesk in a phone call.

Luongo is the CEO and founder of Thesis, a blockchain development studio. The idea for Keep arose out of building bitcoin rewards app Fold, which needed ways to store data in public, privately. While not committing to a precise timeline, Luongo said both Keep and TBTC will go live at the same time – in a matter of “weeks not months.”

The new funding round was led by Paradigm Capital, with participation from Fenbushi Capital, Collaborative Fund and others. In December 2018, Keep had a prior round that included participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital and Draper Associates.

“Keep is the solution we’ve been waiting for, to unlock the next stepwise growth in adoption,” Paradigm co-founder Fred Ehrsam said in a press release. “I am especially excited about tBTC, the first ‘killer app’ supported by the Keep network.”

Luongo is himself extremely long BTC, but he’s not one of those bitcoin diehards who dismisses DeFi.

“I think the whole Bitcoin-Ethereum cultural split has outlived its usefulness,” he said.

What’s different about tBTC

Bitcoin is already on Ethereum, most notably with…

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