Fintech Seashell has emerged from stealth mode with the launch of its high-yield Seashell Save app and the announcement of a $6 million seed round co-led by Khosla Ventures and Kindred Ventures.
Seattle-based Seashell bills its offering as an inflation-resistant savings app. The U.S. consumer price index, an inflation metric measuring costs across dozens of products and services, rose 7% in December compared to the prior year, the largest increase since 1982.
The national average interest rate for savings accounts is just 0.06%, according to Bankrate data. Seashell hopes to close that gap by offering up to 10% interest to Seashell Save users, with the exact interest rate determined by the amount deposited and the length of time a user has had the account.
The way banks work is that they take your deposits and loan them out; we loan [funds] to people who are willing to pay more for it, said Seashell founder and CEO Daryl Hok in an interview with CoinDesk.
The borrowers include crypto holders wanting fiat currency, who are willing to pay fees and a higher interest rate to access the money. Seashell overcollaterizes cryptocurrency-backed loans to offset the potential market volatility. Crypto borrowers using staked assets as collateral would also provide the staking rewards.
The funding round also included Coinbase Ventures, Robinhood co-founder and CEO Vlad Tenev, Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban, unicorn investor Elad Gil, former CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo and the founders of a number of Web 3 projects, including Terra, Polygon, Avalanche and Solana.
Seashell Save, available on Android and iOS devices, allows users to open a verified account and immediately transfer money from their bank to start earning interest. The app is free to set up and users can withdraw money at any time with no fees or penalties. The app’s waitlist is currently open and the accounts are expected to launch at the end of the first quarter on a rolling basis to allow for stress testing, said Hok, who previously served as COO at blockchain security firm CertiK.
Seashell competes with the likes of Eco, a high-yield USDC savings app, but says it differs from alternative solutions due to its U.S. compliance-first approach. Hok said the company worked with its lawyers from the start under the assumption that everything is a security, ensuring the company can meet the highest regulatory standards.