The Russian businessman and “ex-oligarch” developed by Alexander Lebedev is supporting a new decentralized financial project that aims to compete across a wide range of financial products.
According to Russian financial newsletter RBC, Lebedev provides first funding for the startup DeFi, which goes by the name InDeFinEco, which stands for Decentralized Independent Financial System.
Lebedev said he has provided seed funding of between $ 10 and $ 15 million. Sergey Mendeleev, founder of the Russian Stock Exchange, Garantex, is his trading partner in this project.
Lebedev said, “DeFi does not require a large investment in terms of development,” and most of the money is for the initial seeding of liquidity. The project appears to be combining several alternatives to DeFi into one, with a similar lending platform to Compound or Aave as its flagship product.
Mendeleev suggested that the project would also include active portfolio management tools like Yearn Finance or Rari Capital, as well as complex derivatives such as cryptocurrencies, gold, futures and real estate options.
According to Lebedev, among DeFi’s projects “there are currently no representative ecosystems,” which may be true, given the special blend of InDeFinEco. However, individual concepts are not new, and derivative trading is the focus of projects like Opyn or Synthetix.
According to the businessman, the project plans to enter the top ten existing DeFi ventures with a total target value of $ 500 million. It is planned that this will be achieved mainly by adding attractive features to the platform, and not just through high profitability.
The company behind the protocol will be registered in Switzerland, possibly in the cryptocurrency-friendly Zug Valley.
Alexander Lebedev, known as a Russian oligarch, began his career, like many others, in the Communist Party of the USSR and the KGB. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Lebedev bought the National Reserve Bank of Russia, which became one of the largest in the country.
Up until 2012, his net worth was estimated at billions of dollars, but a study by the Russian Central Bank and the FSB destroyed the bank’s assets, which were sold in 2019 after the balance sheet collapsed. At his latest estimate for 2015, his net worth was $ 400 million.
Lebedev is also the owner of the British newspaper The Independent and a major contributor to the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which has traditionally supported the Russian opposition. Lebedev now pretends to be “the former oligarchy” and regularly condemns corruption in Russia.
Lebedev wanted to join Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s richest man, in a short list of entrepreneurs openly involved in the blockchain.