By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S.-based Framework Ventures, the largest venture capital fund investing in blockchain-based decentralized finance, said on Friday it raised $100 million for its second fund, with participation from big U.S. institutional investors.
The company said it has been the largest liquidity provider for some of the top so-called "DeFi" projects that facilitate crypto-denominated lending outside traditional banking. These include Curve, an exchange for stablecoin trading, and decentralized exchange Uniswap.
The second fund's anchor investor was Accolade Partners, a U.S venture capital and growth equity investment firm, while Hall Capital, one of the largest U.S. registered investment advisors with about $42 billion in assets under management, also participated, Vance Spencer, Framework Ventures' co-founder told Reuters in an interview.
Accolade and Hall Capital confirmed the investment in an email to Reuters.
Some of the major U.S. university endowments were also investors in the fund, he added, but declined to name them.
The massive growth of DeFi applications, most of which run on the ethereum blockchain, has put the spotlight on digital assets and lifted major cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether to record highs.
The total number of loans on DeFi platforms hit $86 billion on Thursday, DeFi Pulse data showed, up roughly 650% from $11 billion in October.
Funds raised by Framework will support several DeFi tokens and applications as well as centralized projects experimenting on DeFi blockchains and services.
"This fund is really about the maturation of crypto into this larger than DeFi mass market consumer application," Spencer said.
Framework plans to invest in fringe areas of decentralized tech, delving deeper into more exploratory projects, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
NFTs, which have grown sharply in market size, are digital assets on ethereum that are certified to be unique and not interchangeable. NFTs can be used to represent assets such as art, photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files.
"Right now, with games coming on board blockchains with NFTs and DeFi fully mature, you really have this amazing alternative financial services stack that you cannot get anywhere else in the world," Spencer said.
Framework raised $15 million in July 2019 for its first fund, with one anchor investor.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Alden Bentley and Richard Chang)