Crypto-collateralized loans may soon bring new investors to space

Crypto-collateralized loans may soon bring new investors to space

Institutional investors will soon be able to receive Bitcoin-collateralized U.S. dollar loans through Silvergate Capital Corporation — the holding company of pro-crypto institution, Silvergate Bank.

According to an announcement from Silvergate, Coinbase Custody will be the custodian for loans funded through the bank’s Silvergate Exchange Network, or SEN. The network will provide access to capital through U.S. dollar loans collateralized by Bitcoin (BTC) while Coinbase holds the crypto in cold storage.

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"Traditional lending services generally do not exist in the digital currency industry, which means there aren’t many lenders for investors to choose from," said Jon Melton, Silvergate director of digital asset lending. "Our relationship with Coinbase Custody offers institutional investors increased access to capital efficiency so they can take advantage of market opportunities in the digital currency industry."

Silvergate will offer loans starting at $5 million with an initial 12-month term. The firm's announcement comes as the company behind crypto and fiat wallet and exchange app Abra, said it would be launching a service for crypto users to get cash from their holdings without selling, called Abra Borrow. Such loans could augment or replace traditional funding rounds for firms looking to enter the crypto space.

Since first announcing it would explore offering crypto-collateralized loans in 2019, Silvergate’s annual revenue has more than tripled, from $30 million to $91.5 million. The bank said at the time that its clients had significant interest for Silvergate "to be involved in the custody and transfer of digital assets between customers."

In the fourth quarter of 2020, CEO Alan Lane said the bank would be expecting “increased demand” for these loans in 2021. Though the number of digital currency deposits grew by $2.9 billion over the same period, the price of Silvergate Capital Corporation stock has been volatile in the first quarter of 2021, reaching an all-time high of $176.27 on Feb. 16 but falling 40% within three weeks. At the time of publication, NYSE:SI is valued at $148.90.

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