Andreessen Horowitz leads $9m round for Solana’s Phantom wallet to develop its multichain feature

Phantom, a crypto wallet and browser extension for accessing decentralised finance (DeFi) applications, has raised $9m in a Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz (A16z). 

The round saw participation from Variant Fund, Jump Capital, DeFi Alliance and the Solana Foundation. Angel investors, including early Coinbase investor Garry Tan and executives from Compound, dYdX, Lolli and the Ethereum Foundation also backed the round.

With the fresh capital, Phantom – a non-custodial wallet that currently supports the Solana blockchain – plans to expand to other networks, including Ethereum and Ethereum layer-two scaling solutions.

Besides expanding to the Ethereum ecosystem, another plan is to continue innovating on its Solana ecosystem and introduce more features. These features include in-wallet staking, more markets and liquidity for the in-wallet token swapper, fiat on-ramps via MoonPay, and a new Ethereum/Solana asset bridge.

The startup’s ambition is to interface with more and more networks, currently building out compatibility with Ethereum and looking to embrace other blockchains, aiming to be a product built for a multichain world.

With Phantom’s wallet, users interact with blockchain-based applications and swap tokens. The wallet, which provides a user-friendly UX for crypto, also features capabilities for dealing with nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, which are unique tradable digital assets that users store in their crypto wallets to engage in digital economies. Examples of NFTs include stocks and bonds, real estate, digital artwork, video game characters and even luxury items.

Phantom had a beta launch in April of this year and claims to have secured 40,000 users and 70,000 signups. The multi-chain support and the user-first approach are Phantom’s competitive advantages. It also secured $50,000 in grants from decentralized exchange Serum and high-performance blockchain Solana.

Commenting on the round, Phantom chief executive Brandon Millman said, “The wallets and bridges currently available are preventing users from moving digital assets from one blockchain to another without third-party assistance, resulting in decreased usage and fragmented participation across the DeFi ecosystem.”

Millman acknowledged that DeFi is still extremely complex and difficult to interact with. With Phantom’s interface, much of that is simplified, there is an easy-to-use interface and new users are guided through every step of the onboarding process.

Echoing a similar sentiment, Tan added, “We’re entering the next phase of decentralized computing, and Phantom is an important part of that story. Great user experience for interfacing with digital assets and decentralized applications is the missing link.”

Phantom’s browser extension is compatible with Google Chrome, Brave, Firefox and Microsoft Edge. Later this year, the app will release its own mobile applications for iOS and Android and will add new features, including Ethereum support and bridges between other blockchains.

The round comes as some venture capital firms embrace a crypto future even as volatility continues to envelop the broader market. Last month, a16z announced a whopping $2.2bn crypto fund, the firm’s largest vertical-specific investment vehicle ever.

Copyright © 2021 FinTech Global

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