London-based Rho Labs has emerged out of stealth $2.2 million in pre-seed funding. The round was led by Speedinvest (which backed Purpose Green, Resourcify, and Sylvera) alongside participation from Keyrock, Re7 Capital, Daedalus Collective, and Dmitry Tokarev, CEO of Copper.co, among others.
Rho Labs will use the investment to launch its decentralised trading platform – Rho Protocol in December 2023. The platform will focus on the interest rate derivatives market.
Platform for on-chain interest rates
Crypto custody firm Copper’s former chief product officer Alex Ryvkin has launched Rho Labs in 2022. Alex spent over a decade in capital markets and FinTech as a sales trader, derivatives structurer, and startup CEO.
Rho Labs is building a non-custodial institutional-grade interest rate derivatives market. It enables secure and transparent on-chain trading of both crypto-specific rates, such as staking and funding rates, and traditional rates such as SOFR. In addition to crypto-specific rates, Rho Labs will also allow trading in traditional rates such as the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, Libor’s replacement.
Rho aims to create a highly capital-efficient market for crypto-specific rates, such as staking, digital asset lending, and funding rates, to enable the same advantages for institutional crypto traders. A private beta of Rho’s market on Arbitrum will be launched with a select set of global trading partners later this year.
Rho enables users to trade rates such as staking rewards and perpetual funding rates, 24/7, free of counterparty risk, and with extreme capital efficiency.
Alex Ryvkin, Founder and CEO of Rho Labs, commented: “Interest Rate Derivatives represent the largest asset class in traditional finance with over $500T in outstanding interest. Our ultimate goal is to introduce this market to the advantages of on-chain trading while offering crypto traders the opportunity to trade the most prominent rates in the ecosystem, as enjoyed by participants of TradFi markets.”
Olga Shikhantsova, Partner at Speedinvest, said: “Market participants across the world widely use IRDs to efficiently hedge against or to capitalise on future rate changes. Given the apparent importance of rates to the global macro environment, we are very happy to support this project, which seeks to use technology to make rates markets more robust and secure. We are excited to see what blockchain’s role will be in the future of capital markets, and we continue supporting the projects developing this thesis.”