Coinbase Ventures Backs Acala and Karura for DeFi in the Polkadot & Kusama Ecosystems

Dan Reecer
Published in
4 min readApr 1, 2021

Our team is thrilled to welcome Coinbase Ventures to the Acala ecosystem. This week, the investment arm of Coinbase has announced their support for Acala, the all-in-one DeFi hub of Polkadot. This investment also supports Karura, the DeFi hub of Kusama being built by the Acala team.

Acala is an EVM-compatible layer-1 blockchain optimized for DeFi. The Acala team has also built a full suite of DeFi applications on top of the blockchain platform, enabling four core products: Liquid DOT staking (LDOT), the multi-collateralized stablecoin, Acala Dollar (aUSD), an AMM decentralized exchange called the Acala DEX, and Acala’s decentralized sovereign wealth fund (dSWF), which enables network controlled value on Acala.

Acala and Karura’s Path to Launch — Crowdsourcing Community Support

As Kusama and Polkadot are nearing the auctions of their first parachain slots, the Acala team is deep in preparation of its two blockchain networks, Acala and Karura. The Acala team’s path to launch is multi-fold and incorporates the support of its community. The team will first need to win a parachain slot auction on Kusama to launch Karura, then will need to win a parachain slot auction on Polkadot to gain a slot for Acala to launch. Both of these parachain slot auctions will be bootstrapped by the Karura and Acala communities. This will enable the networks to be supported by a wide distribution of backers. Check out our post on Karura’s approach to parachain auctions for more information.

The team has chosen to launch Karura on Kusama in order to provide DeFi products to the Kusama community. Karura will bring the Karura Dollar (kUSD), Karura’s AMM-style DEX, and liquid KSM staking (LKSM) to the Kusama ecosystem, in addition to being an EVM-compatible layer-1 chain on which teams will build. The aim is to win the very first slot on Kusama’s network for Karura, in order to provide essential, foundational financial products that can be leveraged by all other parachains and DApps that will launch on the network.

The all-in-one DeFi Hub

Acala and Karura’s suite of DeFi applications are built and ready to launch, and these applications will be available to users on day one. Below you can see the UI for Karura including the kUSD borrowing, swaps using the DEX, liquid KSM staking, and more. If you’re interested in trying Acala and Karura’s DeFi applications, you can use the Getting Started guide to get testnet tokens to try the live testnet at

Supporting Acala and Karura

You can support Karura and Acala in a variety of ways. Follow all of our social channels to stay up to date on the latest, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for updates on parachain auctions, bonuses, and exclusive announcements.

About Coinbase Ventures

Coinbase Ventures invests in companies building the open financial system. We provide financing to promising early stage companies that have the teams and ideas that can move the space forward in a positive, meaningful way. We’re taking a long term view of the space, and we believe that multiple approaches are healthy and good. Our goal is simply to help the most compelling companies in the space flourish. Learn more in the Introducing Coinbase Ventures blog post.

About Acala

Acala is the decentralized financial hub and stablecoin of Polkadot that makes it fast and easy to use or build financial applications, improving trading efficiency and saving time. The platform offers a suite of financial primitives: a multi-collateralized stablecoin backed by cross-chain assets like Bitcoin, a trustless staking derivative, and a decentralized exchange to unleash liquidity and power financial innovations. Acala is the de facto open platform for finance applications to use smart contracts or built-in protocols with out-of-the-box cross-chain capabilities and robust security.

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About Karura

Karura is the all-in-one DeFi hub of Kusama. Founded by the Acala Foundation, Karura is a scalable, EVM-compatible network optimized for DeFi. The platform offers a suite of financial applications including: a trustless staking derivative (liquid KSM), a multi-collateralized stablecoin backed by cross-chain assets (kUSD), and an AMM DEX — all with micro gas fees that can be paid in any token.

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