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Market Maker Keyrock Raises $72M Amid FTX Contagion

Walter Bibikow

Digital-asset market maker Keyrock has raised $72 million in a Series B funding round from a group of investors that included crypto fintech Ripple and SIX FinTech Ventures – the investment arm of financial market-infrastructure provider SIX Group – and Middlegame Ventures.

Keyrock will use the funding to invest in infrastructure development, scalability tools and regulatory licensing across Europe, the U.S. and Singapore.

The funding round closed in September, Keyrock co-founder and CEO Kevin de Patoul told CoinDesk in an interview. The announcement, however, comes at a pivotal time for market makers, which provide liquidity in crypto markets.

Alameda Research, the sister company of bankrupt exchange FTX and a major market maker, was revealed to have liquidity issues in a Nov. 2 CoinDesk report, striking the first domino that led to the collapse of FTX and a massive crypto contagion that continues to spread. The survival and health of other market makers is vital to retaining stability in other crypto markets.

Founded in 2017 in Brussels, Keyrock pulled most of its assets from FTX the weekend after the CoinDesk story broke, but “a little bit” remained stuck, de Patoul said. The amount was “not consequential” to operations or the stability of the firm, and no client funds were affected. The minimal exposure came down to solid risk-mitigation practices and an eye toward long-term strength rather than overly rapid growth.

“We had the vision to create a system that would allow us to provide liquidity at a very large scale to all digital assets,” de Patoul said. “Today, digital assets equal crypto. In our minds, down the line, every single asset will have a digital representation.”

Keyrock was founded by de Patoul, software developer Jeremy de Groodt and entrepreneur Juan David Mendieta. The firm uses proprietary technology to provide scalable and adaptable liquidity products to marketplaces and asset issuers, including more than 85 trading venues and investor Ripple.

Keyrock now has an office in the U.K. and plans to expand to Switzerland and Singapore in early 2023. In the past year, Keyrock has expanded its trading volume threefold despite the bear market and doubled its global workforce to more than 100. The firm plans to double its headcount again in the coming year, going against the tide of hiring freezes in the crypto industry.

Read more: These Crypto Market Makers Were Wary of FTX Before Collapse