The Nervos Foundation and China Merchants Bank International (CMBI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Merchants Bank, launched a $50 million venture capital fund to invest in blockchain startups.

Why it matters: The fund will look for startups with plans to integrate in the Nervos ecosystem. This will help the blockchain network grow.

  • The fund is also the first joint investment vehicle between a bank and a Chinese public blockchain startup.

Details: The fund, dubbed InNervation, will invest in early and growth-stage startups globally, focusing on decentralized applications (dapps), decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, distributed ledger platforms, and non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces, according to a press release.

  • Asked about InNervation’s investment strategy, Nervos co-founder Kevin Wang also pointed to “a lot of interesting emerging use cases at the intersection of DeFi and NFTs, like using NFTs as collateral for decentralized lending products.”
  • The capital will be distributed over three years, with investments from $200,000 to $2 million.

We’re not in this for quick returns so it’s difficult to say when we expect to see ROI on the projects we invest in. […] Many of the investments made will be strategic to the Nervos ecosystem, so we’re taking a longer-term approach.

Nervos co-founder, Kevin Wang

Context: Backed by major investors, Nervos is one of the most respected Chinese startups working on “layer one” blockchain technology. Layer one refers to basic architecture that can support a range of blockchain applications.

  • It has received $100 million in six funding rounds, data from Crunchbase says. Investors include Sequoia China, and some of the country’s best-known blockchain funds, including Wanxiang Blockchain and Hashkey Capital.
  • Nervos’s partners include major blockchain projects like the Blockchain Services Network, oracle provider Chainlink, and crypto wallet RenrenBit. 
  • Hong Kong-based CMBI has invested in Nervos through the CKB token, Nervos’s native cryptocurrency, The Block reported. The two partnered in 2019 to develop dapps for financial services.

READ MORE: Nervos launches new token standards, furthering Defi push

Eliza was TechNode's blockchain and fintech reporter until July 2021, when she moved to CoinDesk to cover crypto in Asia. Get in touch with her via email or Twitter.