An offline mobile map for travelers raised $ 50 million in a funding round led by Alameda Research.
The new capital announced on Monday will be used to introduce a multi-currency wallet on Maps.me and enable a decentralized financial ecosystem (DeFi) on the platform.
Cryptocurrency lender Genesis Capital and institutional cryptocurrency company CMS Holdings also participated in the round.
According to a press release shared with CoinDesk, the Maps.me wallet is said to “unlock DeFi tools” for 140 million users by giving them access to a range of payment and investment tools.
“By embedding and democratizing access to high-yield finance for millions of users through an everyday app, Maps.me has the potential to really drive mainstream DeFi adoption,” said Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of Alameda Research.
This move aims to remove brokers and banks from the travel finance equation by allowing users to store value and generate returns of up to 8%. Users can also send and spend money in multiple currencies for cross-border travel, offer cashback on transactions, and exchange money with no hidden costs.
With its wallet offering, the travel platform aims to combat high foreign exchange fees and commissions levied by banks and third party travel booking providers. Maps.me intends to give users the ability to make travel bookings directly from the built-in wallet with near-zero fees.
The Maps.me app provides offline access to turn-by-turn routes, travel guides, hotel bookings, and maps aimed at travelers without cell phone coverage or prepaid phone plans.
“An experienced development team combined with a sharp product design has the potential to bring a large amount of traffic to … DeFi via the Maps.me app,” Bankman-Fried told CoinDesk via Telegram.
CORRECTION (January 18th, 3:59 UTC): In a press release the funding was incorrectly referred to as the starting round. According to Crunchbase, Maps.me increased its starting round in 2013.