Venture Capital

Portal Emerges From Stealth With $34 Million Seed Funding

SAN FRANCISCOPortal, a company looking to develop a decentralized Bitcoin-Based exchange, has exited stealth mode and raised $34 million in seed funding. Investors that participated in the round include Coinbase Ventures, Arrington Capital, OKX Ventures and, as well as many other high-profile fintech and crypto investors. The seed funding builds on Portal’s angel round of $8.5 million, which closed in 2021.

The new funding comes at a pivotal moment for the crypto industry as it grapples with the security risks and fragmentation inherent in cross-chain bridges, centralized exchanges (CEXs) and decentralized exchanges (DEXs). In fact, over the last two years, approximately $2.5 billion has been stolen from bridges alone by hackers, according to Token Terminal, with prominent hacks of bridges such as Wormhole, HECO/HTX, Nomad, Harmony, Multichain, BNB bridge and Orbit. With few alternative cross-trading solutions on the market, users are forced to rely on highly centralized, opaque and risky swapping solutions like wrappers, bridges and custodians.

“Bridges, centralized exchanges and other custodial solutions that enable cross-chain exchange have been vulnerable and insecure for as long as they have existed,” said Chandra Duggirala, co-founder and CEO of Portal. “From the very early days of Mt. Gox to FTX, centralized exchanges have been a persistent source of risk to user funds. Now, the risk remains, but it has taken a new form in bridges and other custodial cross-chain solutions. Portal intends to solve the problem of custodial risk once and for all using secure and transparent Layer 2 atomic swap technology. With the support of our investors, we look forward to introducing cross-chain infrastructure that finally enables users to execute trades quickly and safely.”

Through its novel, decentralized and trust-minimized infrastructure, Portal is building a solution that will enable peer-to-peer swapping of Bitcoin across a range of blockchains without the need for dangerous intermediaries like wrappers, bridges, CEXs and multi-hop DEXs. As a staking and swapping layer, interoperability layer and execution layer, Portal’s infrastructure will enable any user to swap Bitcoin across a range of blockchains and back in seconds without giving up custody, privacy or security.

Portal will use the funds to develop its two flagship products: Portal DEX and Portal Wallet. Portal DEX is the first Bitcoin-based exchange that enables Layer 2 atomic swaps of cryptocurrencies across blockchains at greater speed, lower cost and with increased transparency, security and interoperability. Portal Wallet is a fully non-custodial tool that integrates Portal DEX and allows users to receive, store and send cryptocurrencies across blockchains.

In the coming months, Portal will launch several new groundbreaking products previously only available to large institutions and hedge funds. They include an AI-powered, co-pilot investment application for acquiring financial intelligence and maximizing high-level investment strategies; and an API integration tool for building Portal DEX cross-chain swap functionality into existing wallets, DeFi applications on any chain and Web3 DApps. Portal will also be announcing several strategic partnerships with major Bitcoin projects to enhance the utility and accessibility of Bitcoin, which have been bottlenecks for the crypto community.

“Portal is pioneering what DeFi on Bitcoin looks like and we are thrilled to be supporting this team that continues to deliver,” said Michael Arrington, founder and partner of Arrington Capital. He is also the founder of TechCrunch. “Portal is rapidly pushing ahead the Bitcoin ecosystem by enabling fast and low-cost economic activity without being beholden to third parties. As one of the largest asset classes, Bitcoin will be more accessible and secure for individuals thanks to Portal’s unique approach to access, security and products.”