Former Sushi CTO raises $8 million for NFT Astoria lending platform

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Non-fungible token (NFT) lending platform and liquidity engine Asstaria has raised $8 million in seed funding to build during the bear.

The round included True Ventures, Arrington Capital, Ethereal Ventures, Wintermute, Genesis Trading, LedgerPrime, Hypersphere Ventures, The LAO and many more. (Genesis is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which also owns CoinDesk.)

Astoria allows users to post their NFTs as collateral to earn instant cash. According to co-founder and CEO Justin Bram, the recent decline in NFT sales followed by bear market signals makes Astaria’s services attractive to NFT owners looking to earn passive income from their digital assets.

“We are very bullish on NFTs and bringing real assets to the future,” Bram told CoinDesk when asked about current trends in NFT markets. “Over the next three to five years, we hope to grow far beyond art-based NFTs and profile picture NFTs.”

Users who pledge their NFTs as collateral can use Astoria to take out Ether (ETH) loans. According to co-founder and CTO Joseph Delong, a crypto veteran who previously ran decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol Sushi and worked at ConsenSys, Astoria will eventually integrate multiple chains beyond Ethereum to support loans in other cryptocurrencies.

“We know Ethereum will be here in three, five years. We don’t know what other layers 1 [blockchains] will be. We don’t know which layer 2s [companion systems] will be successful,” Bram said of the cross-channel expansion.

The market for NFT lending services has grown over the past year, with companies such as NFTfi and Arcade providing peer-to-peer lending services. Astoria differs in that it will not require two-way approvals, in an effort to make transactions more efficient.

According to Bram, Astoria plans to use the funding round to expand its current team of eight people. He says the public launch of the platform could come as early as September.

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