Undercollateralized lending platform Maple Finance is launching a new pool today designed for permissioned, know-your-customer/anti-money-laundering (KYC/AML) compliant loans.
The decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol announced the pool on Monday morning in collaboration with investment firm BlockTower Capital and prime brokerage Genesis (Genesis is owned by Digital Currency Group, CoinDesk’s parent company).
Sanat Rao, a general partner at BlockTower and the head of its Gamma Point Capital market neutral fund, said that the pool is an initial step towards addressing a massive, underserved market.
“The whole opportunity is, how do you bridge the crypto world and the ‘real’ world, or the traditional finance world? There’s $10 trillion in corporate bonds every year, there’s 50 million small-to-medium sized enterprises in India [alone] and there’s a $300 billion credit gap there,” he said. “Crypto lenders lending to real-world borrowers – we’re excited about DeFi being able to bridge that gap.”
Maple allows users to issue un-or-undercollateralized loans to known entities based on reputation, rather than the traditional model in DeFi which relies on collateral that can be slashed in the event of underpayment. The BlockTower pool is Maple’s first permissioned pool and the protocol’s fourth overall. Current borrowers from other pools include Alameda Research, Framework Labs and Wintermute Trading, among others. The protocol currently has $282 million in total value locked (TVL), which is the U.S. dollar value of the cryptocurrency committed to the protocol.
Both BlockTower and Genesis went through a KYC/AML process, and the loans, which will run as high as $20 million, will be fully regulated.
Rao told CoinDesk that more borrowers and lenders will be coming to the pool in the coming months, and that lending is the first step towards a larger suite of products potentially including structured products.