How much are 140 million users worth?
Following a direct investment of $ 50 million in the Maps.me travel app earlier this year, Alameda Research today announced a $ 40 million investment in the Oxygen decentralized financial protocol, a Solana-based lending platform that will be integrated into the App is integrated.
Similar to loan protocols like Aave and Compound, Oxygen is initially offering lending services through pools where users deposit their assets and leverage Serum’s on-chain infrastructure to lend loans on the terms they want. Users can also borrow at the same time for returns while borrowing for their portfolios, ”the announcement said.
While the details are hard to find on official channels, Oxygen also has a plethora of planned features, including cross-chain integrations with Ethereum-native protocols like Aave and Yearn, option writing, and fully decentralized governance. The log is currently in alpha with the largest debt pool of $ 1,000.
Alameda Research was supported by investment firms MultiCoin Capital, Genesis Capital and CMS Holdings.
“Oxygen will be the most sophisticated and elegant risk management tool in DeFi. With a strong team, a growing liquid ecosystem and a large potential user base, we believe this is the next step in mass adoption,” said Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of Alameda Research acquisition.
User, user, user
The $ 40 million investment follows a $ 50 million investment in Maps.me Alameda Research announced in January. Combined with $ 20 million Oxygen CEO Alex Grebnev, who reportedly got paid to acquire Maps, the team has now invested over $ 0.78 in the app for each of Maps’ 140 million users .
While many in the crypto community found the initial investment puzzling – it remains unclear whether users of a travel app want or need DeFi functionality – Grebnev believes that user numbers are key to unlocking long-term value:
“Currently, DeFi storage has a maximum of around 1 million users. How much would the Oxygen / Maps ecosystem be worth if Maps.me’s 140 million registered users were using the protocol / platform? “
Part of the user-centric strategy could be a result of Grebnev’s previous efforts with Oxygen. In 2018 he launched a peer-to-peer lending service of the same name, but demand and product market adaptation did not materialize. He gives a number of possible reasons:
“First, it was a non-scalable business model – peer-to-peer borrowing / lending of individual assets without a suitable engine. Second, the market has declined 80% since we started working until we were ready to go 6 months later. Third, the institutional demand that everyone expected did not come through. We decided to stop the project. “
Embedded (de) finance
With Maps.me and a new version of Oxygen to replicate prime brokerage services, Grebnev is hoping for a different outcome. Internal research shows that 47% of current Maps.me users “want financial services”. He points to similar user jacking efforts that are common with tradfi companies.
“Embedded finance is a big topic. Take QuickBooks, which introduce bank accounts. Or Apple offers credit cards. Companies use their user base to offer relevant financial services, ”he said.
In addition, in connection with the acquisition of tradfi users, the total of 110 million US dollars that Alameda Research and Grebnev invested in the travel app could actually be a bargain:
“With these transactions, we were able to build an ecosystem that integrates DeFi tools with a user base of more than 100 million registered users. It took PayPal 20 years and billions of dollars to reach 300 million users. It took Revolut 5 years and hundreds of millions to reach 12 million registered users. “
Oxygen’s OXY governance token is currently available for selection by pre-sale participants. The token will have an IEO on March 11th, after which it will be available via Grebnev for FTX, BitMax and Serum DEX.