Ben Milne, the Des Moines serial entrepreneur, has started a new venture, Brale. The company enables financial service customers to use both centralized and decentralized finance – managing assets on-chain.
Centralized finance is one of the key innovations of economics. It basically is the basis for banking where a central financial institution creates a currency and the rules/governance around the currency. This basic outline provides the rules around how currencies are traded and what entities provide backstops to governments and other large institutions in the case of financial challenges. According to Brale the benefit of centralized finance (CeFi) is “stability and regulatory mapping”.
Decentralized finance (DeFi) is a different way of creating governance around finance. Essentially, using decentralized blockchains which continuously replicate to record transactions. The DeFi chain keeps track of currency and currency holders. This is the basis for cryptocurrencies and provides an alternative governance structure for transactions. The chain verifies and guarantees the currency. According to Brale, the benefit of DeFi is “24/7 access and a global footprint”.
Brale’s early business model is to enable financial institutions to take advantage of stablecoins and various DeFi ecosystems. “We’re focusing on Ethereum, Avalanche, Stellar, Polygon, Solana, and Ripple” according to the company.
And with a known CEO, Ben Milne, who founded Dwolla, Brale is set up to be a fixture of the Central Iowa ecosystem. The company has been able to land its first round of seed financing from a national heavy hitting venture capital firm, New Enterprise Associates. The round was announced as $11.1 million in pre-seed financing with Scott Sandell joining Brale’s Board.
The financing is intended to help the company build their development team and to pay for the early development efforts. With the fluctuations in the cryptocurrency market and the implosion of key players (such as FTX), the investment in Brale and in Milne should provide some insight into the belief that there is still great opportunity in the blockchain and in the integration of CeFi and DeFi.
Beyond just the compelling market, however, Milne’s efforts have long produced gravity for Central Iowa, so having a new venture in an exciting industry is likely to produce both news and pull for people to Des Moines. Check out his reflection (December 2020) on Clay and Milk for more insight.
For more information, you can find the company’s website at https://brale.xyz.