Zest Protocol raises $3.5m Seed Round led by Draper Associates

Round Led by Draper Associates, with participation from Binance Labs and Flow Traders.


minute read

May 13, 2024

Tycho Onnasch

GEORGE TOWN, CAYMAN ISLANDS – Zest Protocol is a lending protocol built for Bitcoin. Their mission is to redefine Bitcoin lending by enabling every BTC holder to deploy their assets in on-chain lending markets. Today Zest Protocol announces its $3.5M Seed raise led by Bitcoin Veteran Tim Draper’s Draper Associates 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 Protocol leverages the upcoming Stacks Nakamoto and sBTC blockchain upgrades to create a fully Bitcoin native lending experience. Using sBTC’s unique peg-in wire format, users deposit BTC through a native Bitcoin transaction to fund their balance on Zest Protocol - after which they are able to engage in lending or yield generating activities. In preparation for the sBTC launch, Zest Protocol’s lending infrastructure is currently live on Stacks mainnet with Stacks market - the first money market for Stacks based assets.

“Bitcoin L2s like Stacks are set to play a key role in unlocking Bitcoin DeFi,” said Tycho Onnasch, Founder of Zest Protocol. “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.”

The Zest Protocol team has a long history of building Bitcoin applications and infrastructure. The Zest Protocol team was one of the first projects incubated at Trust Machines, the leading Bitcoin product company founded by Muneeb Ali - the co-creator of Stacks. The Zest Protocol team played a key role in the development of the Stacks Nakamoto upgrade and sBTC.

“A resilient capital market will be a major factor in Bitcoin reaching the next billion users,” said Muneeb Ali, CEO of Trust Machines, who incubated Zest Protocol in its early stages. “The team at Zest Protocol is mission-driven to make Bitcoin DeFi a fundamental part of users’ Bitcoin experience.”

“I don’t want to just hold BTC - I want to use it!” said Tim Draper. “I’ve ran 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.”

“Zest Protocol's technology 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.,” said Yi He, Co-Founder of Binance and Head of Binance Labs. 

“As one of the leading liquidity providers in digital assets, being able to leverage a more robust lending infrastructure around BTC would be highly beneficial to the ecosystem's growth and we are delighted to support Zest Protocol with their efforts” said Michael Li, Global Head of Digital Assets at Flow Traders. “Their approach is closely aligned to Flow Traders' mission to contribute to the development of the market and its maturity, this initiative underpins this perfectly.”

About Zest Protocol
Zest Protocol is a lending protocol built for Bitcoin. Zest Protocol exists to redefine Bitcoin lending. The protocol strives to create a vibrant borrowing and lending ecosystem around BTC the asset. For more information, visit www.zestprotocol.com

About Draper Associates

Draper Associates, founded in 1985 by Tim Draper, is a seed-stage venture capital firm that helps entrepreneurs to drive their businesses to greatness. Tim Draper is among the most prominent venture capitalists in Silicon Valley and invested in legendary companies such as SpaceX, Tesla and Coinbase. He is an ardent proponent of Bitcoin and is one of the world’s largest holders of the cryptocurrency.

About Binance Labs

As the venture capital arm and accelerator of Binance, Binance Labs has now grown to be worth over $10 billion. Its portfolio covers 250 projects from over 25 countries across six continents and has a return on investment rate of over 14X. Fifty of Binance Labs’ portfolio companies are projects that have gone through our incubation programs. For more information, follow Binance Labs on X.

About Flow Traders

Flow Traders (Euronext: FLOW) is a leading trading firm providing liquidity in multiple asset classes, covering all major exchanges. In addition to its trading activities, Flow Traders has established a strategic investment unit focused on fostering market innovation and aligned with our mission to bring greater transparency and efficiency to the financial ecosystem. With nearly two decades of experience, we have built a team of over 600 talented professionals, located globally, contributing to the firm's entrepreneurial culture and delivering the company's mission.www.flowtraders.com

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Written by
Tycho Onnasch
May 13, 2024

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