Bird, Ring Veterans Raise $5M for GameFi Lending Protocol

Web 3 is attracted to Web 2 talent at an accelerated pace.

Add the founders MetaLend the lending protocol for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) was just added to the list with $5 million of funding.

Sudjeev Singh, MetaLend’s co-founder, previously led the growth and marketplace section for Bird, an e-scooter manufacturer. Nikhil Bhardwaj was the co-founder and oversaw an engineering team at smart security firm Ring.

“We are really excited about the direct impact we as builders will have on the space,” Bhardwaj told CoinDesk in an interview. “We’re at the forefront of it, and we’re really going to be able to influence what the future looks like.”

MetaLend’s new seed round was led by crypto investing giant Pantera Capital, which has $5.5 billion in assets under management. The round was led by crypto venture firm Collab+Currency, and Vietnam-based gaming guild Ancient8, who is the first official MetaLend guild partner.

This new capital will be used to fund product development, marketing and hiring efforts.

“MetaLend allows NFTs to be utilized and leveraged in a new way that brings value to the entire play-to-earn ecosystem,” Pantera Capital Partner Paul Veradittakit said in a press release. “As the use cases for NFTs grow, many will turn to protocols like MetaLend to access liquidity for their assets.”

Play-to-earn lending

MetaLend, currently in beta, will launch publicly in the second half of the year. It differs from other NFT lending platforms in that players can continue earning and playing with the asset as collateral.

The initial focus of the protocol was on Axie Infinity, play-to-earn giant Axie Infinity. However, plans are to incorporate another Polygon-based game in the next two to 3 months.

“If you think about it, what we’re doing is really beneficial to these games. You have a section of users who need liquidity and right now their only option is to sell out of their assets,” Singh told CoinDesk. “We provide that alternative, which is to take on a loan instead and use the income from the NFT to pay that down over time.”

MetaLend lets you borrow up 30% of the appraised price of an NFT (NFT) in ETH. Over-collateralized loans are common in decentralized finance (DeFi) to help mitigate the risks of the underlying assets.

Singh stated that loans appeal to both gamers and gaming guilds looking for liquidity to help them grow. While Ancient8 is currently the only official gaming guild partnership, there are 10 to fifteen other guilds on the waitlist.

MetaLend loans don’t come from the protocol’s balance sheet, but rather originate from liquidity pools filled by outside lenders. MetaLend lenders earn interest on the money they lend and expect a 5%- 10% annual percentage yield.

The NFT asset is sold to anyone who defaults on a loan. Singh said that game guilds are one of the potential buyers.

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