Maple Finance announces direct lending to fill the void left by BlockFi, Celsius

Web3 lending platform Maple Finance has announced the launch of a direct lending program, according to a June 28 fact sheet from the platform’s development team. The program is intended to replace services previously provided by Celsius, BlockFi and other now-bankrupt lenders.

The first lending pool will be available sometime in July, the company stated.

Maple Finance is a blockchain institutional capital marketplace. It is used by Web3 businesses to obtain loans, allowing them to finance product launches or expansions. In the past, Maple relied on credit professionals, called “pool delegates,” to provide capital for these loans. For example, Celsius used Maple to create a Wrapped Ether (WETH) lending pool in February 2022.

But in the bear market of mid-to-late 2022, some of the largest Web3 lenders went bankrupt. Celsius closed up shop in July, BlockFi went belly up in November, and Genesis declared bankruptcy in January.

In the June 28 announcement, the Maple team stated that it will now fulfill the role of a lender on the platform in some cases. Using its own credit underwriting expertise, it will provide capital from institutional allocators to creditworthy borrowers. This means that if a potential borrower can’t get loans from one of the other providers, the person may be able to obtain them from Maple through its Maple Direct program.

Related: Celsius seeks to convert alts to Bitcoin and Ether under reorganization plan

According to the Maple team, this new program is necessary because major Web3 lenders have “exited the space” and traditional lenders such as banks “do not have the necessary focus or expertise to underwrite to the innovative group” of Web3 technology firms.

The team said it will launch its first direct lending pool sometime in July, which will focus on lending to “infrastructure, asset management, [and] liquidity providers.” The team has invited capital allocators to earn yield through the program, saying that it suits the needs of “Crypto Funds, DAOs, VCs, HNWI, Yield Aggregators, [and] Family Offices” looking for a return on their investments.

Maple will also “continue to expand its existing services,” the announcement said, implying that Maple Direct will not replace the current platform that features competing lenders.

Lenders at Maple Finance suffered from the FTX and Alameda Research bankruptcies in November. Borrower Aurus Global missed one of its payments as a result of fallout from these events, and Maple also cut ties with borrower Orthogonal Trading over what it saw as misrepresentations. But the platform bounced back quickly, launching version 2.0 of its software in December.

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