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Brine Fi Pioneering DeFi with $16.5M Funding Boost

From Childhood Passion to Global Impact, Brine Fi Fuelling DeFi Innovation with $16.5M
By Josefina Dipaolo
September 11, 2023

Dubai-based Brine Fi is making waves in decentralized finance, securing $16.5 million in Series A funding. Leading the investment charge is Pantera Capital, a US-based hedge fund with a crypto focus, along with contributions from Elevation Capital, Starkware Ltd, Spartan GroupGoodwater CapitalUpsparks VenturesProtofund Ventures, and angel investors. This funding has catapulted Brine Fi's valuation to $100 million.

Founded in 2021 by university friends Bhavesh Praveen, Ritumbhara Bhatnagar, and Shaaran Lakshminarayanan, Brine Fi had a clear mission from the outset: to provide traders and institutions with the ultimate DEX experience. Their team boasts former executives from industry giants like Coinbase, PayPal, Venmo, Flipkart, Harvard, and MIT.

Before Brine Fi, the trio, along with another partner, embarked on their entrepreneurial journey with Krypto. In just one year, Krypto garnered over a million users and facilitated nearly $400 million in transactions, positioning itself as India's largest crypto payments app. However, it was not without its share of challenges, including regulatory hurdles and market turbulence.

Motivated by these challenges, the team set its sights on creating Brine Fi—an ultra-fast, cost-effective, fully decentralized exchange. Their aim? To make Brine Fi the premier on-chain institutional trading platform.

Brine Fi harnesses zkP (Zero Knowledge Proofs) technology, powered by StarkWare, to ensure privacy in trading positions, enabling seamless high-volume order execution. Users can enjoy fee-free trading, with charges as low as 0.05%. Additionally, they have the opportunity to earn up to 50% of referral trading fees as rebates on Brine Fi and participate in the monthly Trading Leaderboard for USDC rewards.

Despite its recent launch, Brine Fi's order book platform records monthly volumes approaching £300 million, solidifying its position as the world's leading decentralized exchange (DEX).

Lakshminarayanan explains, "DEX enables on-chain trading, ensuring users execute orders directly on the blockchain while retaining full asset custody. Although DEXs provide a secure option, many traders have turned to CEXs due to higher trading fees on DEXs, price slippage, transaction fees (£5-£25 per transaction), liquidity challenges, the absence of an order book, transaction delays, and a lack of order privacy—leading to front-running attacks. Brine Fi offers a solution that combines the best of both worlds, granting access to DEX and CEX advantages within a single platform."

Paul Veradittakit, Managing Partner at Pantera Capital, lauds Brine Fi's role in overcoming critical obstacles hindering institutional and mainstream DeFi adoption. He highlights the pressing need for a self-custodial execution layer that is faster, more reliable, user-friendly, and cost-effective.

Vaas Bhaskar, Principal at Elevation Capital, echoes the sentiment, emphasizing their continued investment in Brine Fi. He commends the team's unique blend of technical expertise and evolving user-centric approach, all in pursuit of simplifying blockchain technology for end-users and institutions.

Shaaran's coding journey began at just six years old, laying the foundation for his product development skills honed through hackathons, datathons, and CTFs. His fascination with distributed and performance computing led to the creation of matching engines now adopted worldwide for exchange infrastructure development.

During his university years, Shaaran envisioned a solution to transform cryptocurrencies into both stores of value and payment methods. Fate intervened when he crossed paths with Bhavesh and Ritumbhara during a college hackathon, igniting their shared vision and setting the stage for the founding of Krypto. In a whirlwind year, Krypto amassed over a million users and facilitated nearly $400 million in transactions, solidifying its status as India's premier crypto payments app.

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