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Led by former professional poker players, the Ascensive Assets investment firm has raised a $130 million fund to focus on the decentralized finance (DeFi). That substantially exceeds Ascensive’s first fundraising of $24 million in 2019, backed by Polkaswap, Benqi, Yield Guild Games, and JennyDAO.

By the words of Ascensive Assets partner Oliver Blakey, Investors in this round were mainly wealthy individuals from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, and Malaysia, mostly connected to the world of gambling and professional poker.

“They are casino owners, private bookmakers, and Asian high-net-worth individuals generally from the gambling world,” Blakey told in an interview with CoinDesk. “A gambling mentality is in their DNA, I guess. We have always known that world, and, of course, everybody wants exposure to this industry now.”

According to Ascensive Assets partner, one-third of the new fund will go to early-stage startups, while the rest will doubling down mainly on winners from the first fund.

Merely straightforward about the firm’s investment performance, Blakey regrets missing out on early rounds in Axie Infinity but is happy that Ascensive got into Yield Guild Games at the right time.

“We’ve made some awesome investments; we’ve also made some terrible ones,” he said. “I think about this industry as a kind of hybrid of venture capital and a hedge fund; it’s somewhere in the middle.”

As reported before, Grayscale Investments and CoinDesk announced the launch of the DeFi investment fund and index. The new fund joins a growing number of offerings to help investors easily bet on decentralized finance.


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