Solana’s Project Serum, a non-custodial decentralized exchange protocol supporting a majority of Solana’s DeFi applications, has announced that it is raising funds to broaden its operations and launch its Incentive Ecosystem Foundation.
Serum was launched in August 2020, primarily backed by Alameda Research and FTX, one of the crypto industry’s most prominent cryptocurrency derivatives exchanges. The project was designed to offer a scalable and liquid decentralized exchange for derivatives, tooling in and resolving a number of compatibility issues and infrastructural vulnerabilities of the then-burgeoning DeFi space. Serum offers a complete, non-custodial decentralized exchange running on an on-chain central limit order book (CLOB) on Solana’s mainnet. Notably, it is also the only high-performance DEX in the DeFi space that’s built around a fully on-chain CLOB and matching engine.
In 2021, Serum’s ecosystem was met with acceralated growth, with users, assets, and applications registering to its community. Projects built on Serum now number to over 70 actively developed protocols and applications.
According to Project Serum, the Incentive Ecosystem Foundation is a community-led foundation that would support development on the Serum network, today announced that it is raising $100M to support the growth, development, and innovation of the Serum ecosystem. So far, $70 million has been committed for the project’s fundraising call, with participation from Commonwealth Asset Management LP, Tagus, Tiger Global as well as key executives from Golden Tree Asset Management.
Aside from allotments for the foundation, Project Serum is also planning to expand its team and explore new product verticals that include NFTs, gaming, metaverse applications, and tooling functionalities for decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).
“In committed capital, we’re right around $70 million,” Serum core contributor JHL stated, clarifying that the investments for the round were locked for the period of one year, with a linear vesting scheduled for another five years. Additionally, Serum notes that participants in the current round have received $SRM tokens and a portion of the ecosystem fund, with 85% of the raised amount allocated for the fund.
“Serum was originally founded by [FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried], and at the time most of the contributors to Serum were employees of Alameda and FTX. Over time, both due to the evolving regulatory landscape as well as the desire to include the community further in Serum’s future, we’ve now decentralized Serum – it has its own employees, it’s completely separate in a legal sense and in every way possible,” JHL shared.
The pseudonymous core contributor says that the Incentive Ecosystem Foundation is envisioned as a separate entity tasked with the function of providing contributors with compensation and benefits. The Incentive Ecosystem Foundation also manages the Serum Ecosystem Fund, another allocation that holds both Serum and Solana tokens ($SRM and $SOL), as well as tokens from other projects such as Raydium ($RAY), a first-in-class automated market maker (AMM) for Serum; and Bonfida ($FIDA), a full-service decentralized product suite (analytics, name service, perpetual swaps, staking) for Serum. Serum, Raydium, and Bonfida are all fully integrated and purposely built for the Solana ecosystem.
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