Ex-Cash App Engineer Gets $3 Million for Ottr

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ottra Solana-based DeFi wallet that aims to make buying and transferring crypto easier for the average Joe, raised $3.1 million in funding led by Race Capital.

why is it important: Wallets like MetaMask and Phantom underpin the Web3 economy, but come with a steep learning curve. Ottr tries to reduce this barrier to entry.

Background: CEO Aleksei Zakharov previously worked as Senior Director of Engineering to develop Cash App‘s crypto operations.

  • Cash App started as a peer-to-peer payment network and used it to attract customers.
  • While wallets typically charge gas fees to transfer crypto, like Cash App, Ottr does not charge peer-to-peer payments on the platform.
  • Zakharov sees it as a necessary customer acquisition cost that will allow Ottr to offer revenue-generating products (eg products that pay off) later down the road.
  • Similar to Venmo and Cash App, users can be searched using usernames rather than long and complex wallet addresses widely used in crypto.

What they say: While wallets like Phantom and MetaMask act as a gateway for users to find other lending or trading apps, Zakharov envisions a super app where users stay within its walls.

  • “Clients have to go on a journey of self-exploration where they access different decentralized applications and experiment with their money,” he says of existing crypto wallets. “With Otto, [we see ourselves as] plus a great app, where you have just the set of financial services you are looking for.”

The bigger picture: By building itself as a non-custodial DeFi wallet, Ottr is able to launch into new geographies faster than centralized players like Cash App.

  • Ottr, which had a soft launch a few weeks ago, is now available in over 70 countries. This could give it an edge in the future as a remittance product, especially in countries with unstable currencies, notes Race Capital’s Chris McCann.

To note : Other investors in the round include Circle Ventures, Slow Ventures and Kamal Ravikant.

Yes, but: For a crypto wallet billed to non-crypto savvy people, Ottr does not yet connect directly to bank accounts. Although the company is currently working on this integration.

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