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Phantom has raised $9 million for a mainstream crypto wallet and browser extension for managing digital assets and accessing decentralized apps.
It works across multiple cryptocurrencies and blockchain platforms, which are based on the transparent and secure digital ledger technology. It’s all in the name of simplifying cryptocurrency investments for the masses.
A16z, the fund that Netscape founders Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz started, led the round, with participation from Variant Fund, Jump Capital, DeFi Alliance, and Solana Foundation.
The financing round also included participation from Garry Tan, an early Coinbase investor, among other angel investors from Compound, dYdX, Audius, Lolli, and Ethereum Foundation. With the new injection of funds, Phantom will continue to build its team, develop new platform features, and expand to other blockchains.
Founded by Brandon Millman, Chris Kalani, and Francesco Agosti, Phantom wants to provide a wallet that’s easy to use for beginners and veterans. Previously building products for 0x, Matcha, Twitter, and Facebook, the team collectively brings nine years of experience to build a crypto wallet for the next billion users. Statista estimates there are more than 70 million blockchain wallets being used.
Phantom has seen extensive growth since its beta launch in April, adding 40,000 users, growing its signups to 70,000, and securing $500,000 in grants from Serum and Solana during that time period. By providing a wallet capable of many key functions, Phantom has quickly grown its U.S. user base as the industry moves toward fostering global decentralized finance (DeFi) adoption.
The number of DeFi users — 1.75 million — while still small for now, is growing fast, increasing by 50% in the first quarter of 2021. As a result, DeFi will increasingly become more cross-chain and interoperable across layer one and two ecosystems.
Phantom is aiming to be the wallet that will help onboard new users, those new to crypto and those who are looking for a simpler process for holding their assets, as well as the veterans. They’re looking to reimagine the crypto wallet with experiences like having the capability to see NFTs directly in the extension. Rivals include MetaMask and Coinbase.
In regard to security, Phantom has a more streamlined onboarding experience that helps the user understand what they are doing better, leading to less mistakes made, Millman said in an email to VentureBeat.
Millman said that users are looking to seamlessly interact with decentralized exchanges and nonfungible tokens (NFTs). He said the wallets and bridges currently available are preventing users from moving digital assets from one blockchain to another without third-party assistance, resulting in decreased usage and fragmented participation across the ecosystem. With the world moving into a multi-chain future, the strong interest from the participants in the beta group indicates that Phantom has potentially designed a DeFi wallet for the masses, Millman said.
In order to participate in DeFi, users need a good crypto wallet. These are among the first points of interaction for consumers and that experience needs to be as seamless as it is robust so that it can be used by the growing number of users across the numerous blockchain ecosystems. DeFi is complex and the lack of guidance presents a steep learning curve. Phantom aims to lower the barrier to entry by providing users an easy-to-use interface and helping guide new users through every step of the onboarding process.
Tan, an early investor in Coinbase, said we’re entering a new phase of decentralized computing and Phantom is an important part of that story with its great user interface for dealing with digital assets and decentralized applications.
By visiting phantom.app, users can install the browser extension to manage digital assets and access decentralized applications on the Solana blockchain. Compatible with Google Chrome, Brave, Firebox, and Microsoft Edge, Phantom provides the basics and sets the user up to be able to take advantage of everything popping up in the ecosystem.
At launch, Phantom is offering multi-chain, staking, ledger, and NFT support. Phantom also integrated with FTX Pay recently, allowing users to easily transfer currencies such as $SOL, $USDC and $USDT directly from FTX. Later this year, Phantom will be releasing its mobile applications for iOS and Android and will be adding new features, including Ethereum and ETH L2 support, bridges between chains, ETH and SOL staking, and Fiat Onramp via Moonpay. If you’re not sure what all of that is, Phantom says it will take care of it for you so you don’t have to figure it out.
Assets deposited as collateral on DeFi platforms, a measure known as total value locked (TVL), have grown to more than $100 billion according to the website DeFiLlama. A closer look at the list of protocols shows some of the biggest gains over the past week were on protocols operating on Solana.
Notable gains from Solana-based projects include a 104% gain in TVL for Parrot Protocol (PAI) while Raydium (RAY) and SolFarm (TULIP) have increased 46% and 38%, respectively. Running on Ethereum, InstaDApp and Sablier Finance have both increased their TVL by more than 20% while Liquidity increased by 56%.
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