Cobo, a Singapore-based crypto custody and asset management platform, today announced the completion of its US$40 million Series B fundraise to accelerate the rollout of its decentralized finance (DeFi) as a service (DaaS) product.

Fast facts

  • In an interview, Cobo Chief Operating Officer Lily Zhuo told Forkast.News that Cobo’s DeFi as a service (DaaS) product, built on its custody platform, was a one-stop way to help traditional and crypto financial institutions access and navigate DeFi in a quick and regulations-compliant way without the need to get into DeFi’s technical complexities. Cobo’s DaaS API interface connects institutional clients and DeFi protocols such as Uniswap, Curve and Compound. The product has private key management options, such as multi-signature, as well as a multi-layer authorization function that allows institutions to assign different investment professionals to perform different levels of investment activities based on the complexity and risks involved. The fresh capital will also be used to apply for regulatory licenses, Zhuo said.
  • Founded in 2017, Cobo offers crypto custody, wallet, trading and staking services. According to Cobo, the company currently has over 300 institutional clients — covering more than 85% of the second-tier crypto exchanges in the Asia Pacific region — using its crypto custody services. Cobo’s assets under custody are close to US$1 billion and the company has a cumulative transaction volume of US$20 billion. Its institutional clients include crypto derivatives trading platform Deribit, crypto mining pool F2Pool and crypto trading platform BitMart.
  • Cobo’s Series B fundraise was led by a partner at DST Global, A&T Capital and IMO Ventures. Its earlier Series A funding round in October 2018 — led by DHVC and Wu Capital, a family office based in China — raised US$13 million, and the company expects to conduct a bigger fundraise early next year.
  • While Cobo has a four-year history, its founders are among the crypto industry’s early pioneers. Cobo CTO Changhao Jiang was a former engineer at Facebook and Google who in 2013 launched Bihang, a cryptocurrency wallet that was subsequently acquired by OKCoin. Cobo CEO Discus Fish was a co-founder of F2Pool, one of the earliest Bitcoin mining pools.
  • “This fundraising takes us another step closer to Cobo’s foundational vision of empowering 1 billion users to access crypto,” said Fish in a statement.“With interest in the crypto revolution soaring across Asia, it’s high time to expand blockchain infrastructures to meet the rising demand, especially as we’re seeing growing enthusiasm among institutions. In the past, we’d witnessed crypto applications evolve from Bitcoin to DeFi and now NFTs. In due time, I even foresee metaverses will be next to be developed on the blockchain.”
  • Cobo’s fundraise and plans to expand its DaaS offering for institutions comes amid DeFi’s exponential growth over the past year. According to Chainalysis, a blockchain data analytics firm, DeFi adoption has been largely driven by bigger investors — large institutional transactions above US$10 million accounted for over 60% of DeFi transactions in Q2 2021, compared to under 50% for all cryptocurrency transactions. According to blockchain research firm Blockdata, a trillion dollars could flood into DeFi if the world’s 100 biggest banks invested, even experimentally, into DeFi.

See related article: Why some big investors are diving into DeFi but others are holding back