Global network for firms, investors, in blockchain’s decentralized finance enters India to back startups

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Updated: June 17, 2021 2:32 PM

In February this year, the alliance had announced its first fund called DeFi Alliance Fund I seeded by its members and led by its founding partners along with billionaire investor and owner of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Dallas Mavericks.

Blockchain's use cases included trading cryptocurrencies, peer-to-peer borrowing and lending, compliance around anti-money laundering, know your customer (KYC) guidelines, etc., gaming, insurance, payments, and more.

DeFi Alliance, an international network of trading firms, venture capitalists, legal experts, and other service providers offering capital and mentoring to startups working in blockchain-based decentralized finance (DeFI) space, has now set up its India chapter. “As one of the last bastions of free internet, India represents opportunities and challenges for those building for the next billion users,” the alliance, which includes more than 150 companies including Coinbase, Volt Capital, CMT Digital, etc., said in a Medium post. The launch comes amid uncertainty over regulating the adoption of cryptocurrencies in India even as the country represents significant potential for use cases and applications of blockchain that range from trading cryptocurrencies to peer-to-peer borrowing and lending, compliance around anti-money laundering, know your customer (KYC) guidelines, etc., gaming, insurance, payments, and more.

DeFi essentially refers to the public blockchain network-based decentralized financial system available to anyone as an alternative to the traditional and centralized system operated by a single governing body or a company. The alliance said that it is building a presence in India in order to facilitate access to not just capital but also guidance from the right blockchain ecosystem partners which can be crucial to early-stage startups. “Navigating the regulatory landscape can be confusing for operators. There is also a massive opportunity to leverage the regional talent base to build products that can cater to a global audience. These are the opportunities the DeFi Alliance India Chapter aims to address,” the Medium post by John Joel, Principal at digital asset investment firm LedgerPrime and Co-lead of the alliance’s India Chapter read.

Also read: Bitcoin is a bubble for now over 80% fund managers globally despite price pullback: Bank of America survey

Since early 2020, the alliance has supported over 50 startups globally and is now inviting applications from Indian startups for its fifth cohort. The accelerator programme offers support in ideation, capital, networking opportunities, guidance on regulatory best practices, developing fundraising strategies through events, etc. In April this year, the alliance had announced its China chapter followed by the Europe chapter for the European founders and other Western communities.

In February this year, the alliance had also announced its first fund called DeFi Alliance Fund I seeded by its members and led by its founding partners along with Mark Cuban — billionaire investor and owner of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Dallas Mavericks — who called DeFi to be the “next growth engine” for the US in his blog on June 13, 2021. “During the pandemic, I gave zoom speech after zoom speech talking about when we look back at the pandemic in 10-20 years we would see world-changing companies had been created in 2020 and 2021. Among those companies, its already a certainty that De-Fi and other crypto organizations will be at or near the top of the list,” Cuban said.

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