While retail investors were more comfortable buying cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum in 2021, the world of decentralized applications still has a lot of work to do when it comes to incorporating a mainstream user base.
Phantom is part of a new class of crypto startups looking to build an infrastructure that streamlines blockchain-based applications and provides a more user-friendly UX for navigating the crypto world, something that can make the entire space more accessible to a non-developer audience. Users can download the Phantom wallet on their browsers to interact with applications, exchange tokens, and collect NFT.
The cryptocurrency startup has racked up a $ 9 million Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), with participation from Variant Fund, Jump Capital, DeFi Alliance, Solana Foundation and Garry Tan. The round, which closed at Earlier this summer, it comes as some venture capital firms embrace a crypto future even as volatility continues to engulf the broader market. Last month, a16z announced a massive 2.2 billion crypto fund, the firm’s largest specific vertical investment vehicle to date.
The co-founding team of CEO Brandon Millman, CPO Chris Kalani, and CTO Francesco Agosti come aboard the 0x encryption infrastructure startup.
At the moment, Phantom is best known among the Solana community, where it has become the reference wallet for applications on that blockchain. The startup’s ambition is to interact with more and more networks, currently building compatibility with Ethereum and looking to adopt other blockchains, with the goal of being a product built for a “multi-chain world,”.
In addition to developing support for other networks, Phantom wants to build more sophisticated DeFi mechanisms directly in its wallet, allowing users to bet cryptocurrencies and exchange more tokens within the wallet.
The startup says it has about 40,000 users of its existing wallet product.
Building a presence on the popular Ethereum blockchain, which already has a handful of popular wallet providers, will be challenging, but Phantom’s broader challenge is helping a new generation of crypto-curious users interact with a network. of apps that still have a long way to go when it comes to being mainstream compatible.
“The whole space is a bit stuck in this ‘built by developers for other developers’ mode,” says Millman. “This bar is stuck there, and no one is really stepping up to push the bar higher.”