Leading offline mapping application Maps.me has conducted a $50 million seed funding round to embed decentralized finance tools onto its platform.
The funding round for “Maps.me 2.0” was led by Sam Bankman-Fried of Alameda Research and also featured participation from crypto venture heavyweights CMS Holdings and Genesis Capital.
Maps.me 2.0 will be a wide-ranging application, featuring travel guides, hotel bookings and mapping services, in addition to exchange features and a multicurrency crypto-asset wallet offering annual yields of up to 8%.
Alex Grebnev, the co-founder of Maps.me 2.0, told Cointelegraph that users will be able to “generate yield on their savings by directly lending it out securely to borrowers.”
“We also plan to give our users the ability to trade a wide range of assets that are not limited by geographical boundaries or transaction size.”
Maps.me claims to be the first “mainstream app” to embrace DeFi, with the application boasting a user base of more than 140 million after eight years of operation. Around 60 million users were active in 2020. Bankman-Fried said:
“By embedding and democratizing access to yield-earning finance to millions of users via an everyday app, Maps.me has the potential to really propel DeFi mainstream adoption and bring a groundbreaking technology to the masses.”
The announcement states the platform intends to “break down financial silos determined by nationality or net worth” through its DeFi integrations. Grebnev further explained:
“The industry is waiting for a catalyst for the mass adoption of DeFi tools and we’re excited to make this a reality by leveraging our active userbase as a means to bootstrap a retail community for a new innovative DeFi platform on Maps.me.”
“Our long-term vision is to create an embedded platform that combines a broad range of financial services that provide an easier way to invest, pay, and travel. We see the ability to bundle things like foreign exchange, investing, credit card, and peer-to-peer payment services — with low fees, no hidden costs, and strong loyalty incentives,” he added.
Maps.me was launched in 2012 under its old name MapsWithMe and was acquired by Mail.ru for roughly $14 million in 2014. On Nov. 2, 2020, Daegu Limited, a member of Grebnev’s Parity.com Group, purchased the app for nearly $20 million.
Grebnev told Cointelegraph that Parity acquired Maps.me with the objective of building “an ecosystem that integrated DeFi tools with a platform that had a large user base.”