Binance, the world’s largest exchange, announced an unusual investment. This was especially important because it may drive consumers away from the platform.
Binance Labs, the company’s chain-agnostic incubator and venture capital arm, announced a strategic investment in hardware wallet maker NGRAVE. Furthermore, the investment appears to be an attempt to capitalise on renewed industry calls for self-custody.
Greater push for self-custody
Recent developments in the crypto market have led to a distrust of centralized exchanges. The crypto community has been trying to wrap its head around the downfall of FTX. This has most certainly left several crypto firms struggling in its wake.
Suspension of withdrawals on multiple exchanges and crypto lending platforms, including BlockFi and Genesis, have given a bad rep to centralized platforms. “Not your keys, not your crypto” was a phrase that was first popularized during Celsius Network’s bankruptcy proceedings. This basically meant that ownership of crypto was essentially taken away once an investor transfers them to a centralized exchange.
This sentiment witnessed a dramatic reaffirmation following FTX’s collapse, which prompted liquidity issues for several other crypto firms. Retail investors who fell victim to sudden withdrawal suspensions are turning towards cold storage for their crypto. These include hardware wallets, especially in light of recent events.
NGRAVE’s deal with Binance
NGRAVE is a Belgium-based blockchain and digital asset security provider that offers hardware wallets for crypto holders. According to the blog post by Binance, the exchange will lead the wallet maker’s Series A funding round. The exact amount of investment has not been disclosed. Yi He, the co-founder of Binance and Head of Binance Labs, said,
“Self-custodial wallets are one of the most secure methods for storing digital assets and through our investment in NGRAVE, we are looking to continue backing innovative startups that enhance user security.”
Binance Chief Changpeng Zhao took to Twitter earlier this month to share his thoughts on the renewed calls for self-custody following the turmoil caused by FTX. He said,
“Self custody is a fundamental human right. You are free to do it at any time. Just make sure you do do it right.”
Self custody is a fundamental human right.
You are free to do it at any time.
Just make sure you do do it right.
Recommend start with small amounts to learn the tech/tools first.
Mistakes here can be very costly.
— CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) November 13, 2022
With the NGRAVE deal, Zhao’s firm is now ready with a “right way” for its users to access cold storage for their crypto.
CZ joins Buterin’s vision for safe CEX
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin shared a vision for a safe centralized exchange (CEX) on twitter last week. This would feature cryptographic proof of on-chain funds, in addition to proof of solvency. Changpeng Zhao responded to Buterin’s tweet, indicating that he was working on the idea.
Vitalik’s new ideas. Working on this.
Just don’t read the title aloud around people (Vitalik wrote it).https://t.co/AtR6KiSx5B
— CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) November 19, 2022