Billionaire Investor Tim Draper Leads $3.5M Seed Round for Zest Protocol

Zest will use the capital to accelerate the development of its Bitcoin lending protocol powered by Stacks and sBTC.
Image source: Zest Protocol

Quick take:

  • The fundraising also attracted participation from Binance Labs, Flow Traders, Trust Machines and others.
  • Users of the platorm will leverage the Bitcoin network bridging asset sBTC to fund their accounts on Zest Protocol.
  • The platorm allows users to engage in crypto lending and yield-generating activities within the Bitcoin network.

Zest Protocol has completed a $3.5 million seed round led by billionaire investor Tim Draper and with participation from Binance Labs, Flow Traders, Trust Machines, Asymmetric, Bitcoin Frontier Fund, Gravity Fund, Primal Capital, Hyperithm, Miton Crypto, Tykhe Block Ventures, Elixir Capital and more.

Zest is leveraging the Bitcoin layer-2 platform Stacks and the bridging asset sBTC to build a lending protocol that allows users to earn yield.

The announcement comes at a time when Web3 builders are looking to leverage the world’s largest cryptocurrencies to bring more utility to Bitcoin. Users can fund their accounts on Zest Protocol by leveraging sBTC, which is pegged a 1-for-1 to Bitcoin.

Commenting on the announcement, Tycho Onnasch, founder of Zest Protocol highlighted the important role that Bitcoin L2s like Stacks will play in “unlocking Bitcoin DeFi.”

“Unlike on Ethereum, the creation of basic DeFi primitives such as liquidity pools isn’t possible on Bitcoin L1. The Stacks sBTC upgrade is set to be a watershed moment for Bitcoin DeFi, which is what it was designed for from the beginning,” Onnasch said.

Explaining his reason for investing in Zest, Tim Draper expressed his desire to not only hold Bitcoin but also use it. 

“I’ve run many experiments to deploy BTC productively, but it hasn’t been easy. I’m excited to see the team at Zest Protocol make it happen and look forward to using the product once BTC deposits open,” he said.

Yi He, Co-Founder of Binance and Head of Binance Labs believes that the Zest Protocol addresses the needs of Bitcoin holders and borrowers, unlocking the potential for Bitcoin programmability.

“At Binance Labs, we are always seeking first movers shaping the industry, and we look forward to witnessing Stacks’ Nakamoto upgrade propel Zest Protocol’s growth,” Yi He added.

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