The Latest Tech News in Crypto and Blockchain

Feb. 22: Researchers at Telos Foundation, supporting the Telos blockchain, and Input Output Global, known for its work on the Cardano blockchain, have teamed up to publish a white paper revealing a new protocol, “Snarktor,” that developers can leverage to scale blockchains more efficiently and securely across millions of use cases via the integration of zk-SNARK technology. According to the abstract for the paper, published in Cryptology ePrint Archive: “We present a new protocol for decentralized recursive proof aggregation allowing one unique proof to aggregate many input proofs to be efficiently verified on-chain, increasing the throughput and cost efficiency of SNARK-based blockchains. The protocol is designed for decentralized environments where independent actors (provers) can join and contribute to the proof generation process.”

Schematic from the paper illustrating the basic flow of the “Snarktor” aggregation service. (Alberto Garoffolo, Dmytro Kaidalov and Roman Oliynykov/Cryptology ePrint Archive)

Vibrant Finance DEX Deploys on Neon EVM

Feb. 25: Vibrant Finance DEX, backed by Izumi, deployed its DL-AMM-modeled DEX on Neon EVM to expand into non-Ethereum-based DeFi ecosystems, according to the team: “Integrating Vibrant Finance into Neon EVM gives users an enhanced trading experience and increased capital efficiency, signifying a substantial advancement in DeFi that combines the strengths of Ethereum’s framework and Solana’s performance.”

Layer-1 Network Flare Raises $35M From Kenetic, Aves Lair

Feb. 23: Flare, describing itself as a layer-1 network for data, has raised $35 million in a private round that included investment from Kenetic, Aves Lair and others, according to a press release. Flare supports the creation of smart contract protocols and focuses on pricing oracles, which relay asset prices to and from various decentralized finance (DeFi) applications.

Vault, Self-Custody Wallet from Uphold, Exits Two-Month Beta Phase

Feb. 22: Vault, an assisted self-custody wallet by the global Web3 financial platform Uphold, is exiting the two-month beta phase on Thursday. According to the team: “The previous beta phase has seen a significant volume of $33M in assets traded amongst the select group of beta users. Following a diligent community feedback session, the Uphold team saw roughly 80% of surveyed users found Vault easy to understand and simple to use when moving and managing funds.”

Helius Closes $9.5M Series A Round, Led by Foundation Capital

Feb. 22: Helius on Thursday announced the successful closing of a $9.5 million Series A round, according to the team: “Helius, founded by former Coinbase and Amazon Web Services software engineers, has built a suite of tools designed to enhance the developer experience on Solana. The round was led by Foundation Capital, with participation from Reciprocal Ventures, 6th Man Ventures and Solana ecosystem founders, among other funds and investors.” CoinDesk 20 asset: {{SOL}}

Alchemy Launches ‘Modular Account’ for Ethereum L2 Developers

Feb. 22: Alchemy just launched Modular Account, “a bold step forward in making the Web3 ecosystem more broadly accessible to non-technical users through dramatically improved UX,” according to the team. “Imagine trying to onboard the layman with no prior blockchain exposure and describing the various nuances of cold wallets, private keys, gas, nonces, etc. Modular Account is a new contract account implementation designed from the ground up for ERC-4337 and ERC-6900 compatibility. Modular Account provides enterprise-grade security, best in class cost, and robust account extensibility to developers building on Ethereum L2s.”

Eigen Labs, Developer Behind Restaking Protocol EigenLayer, Raises $100M From A16z Crypto

Feb. 22: Eigen Labs, the developer behind EigenLayer, the crypto restaking project atop Ethereum that is shaking up the decentralized finance landscape before it’s even gone live, raised $100 million from venture capital investor a16z crypto. Eigen Labs confirmed the investment in a thread on the social media platform X.

POKT Network Pushes Final Upgrade on Morse Protocol, in Advance of Shannon Upgrade

Feb 22: POKT Network, describing itself as the “RPC base layer,” says its Morse protocol has received its final update, marking a shift towards the Shannon upgrade. According to the team: “Launched on July 28, 2020, with Ethereum and POKT Network, it quickly advanced decentralized infrastructure. This update introduces AI support and improvements in non-custodial staking, reflecting Morse’s evolution and community contributions. Achieving over 700 billion relays across 60+ chains, Morse sets the stage for Shannon, enhancing network sustainability and capacity.”

Astar Network Developer Startale Labs Raises $3.5M

Feb. 22: Astar Network developer, Startale Labs, a developer of Japanese Web3 products, Aiming to accelerate the mass adoption of Web3, has raised an additional $3.5 million from UOB Venture Management and Samsung Next, according to the team: “This brings the total seed round funding to $7 million, combined with a $3.5 million investment from Sony Network Communications in June 2023.”

DWallet Labs Announces Testnet Launch of ‘dWallet Network’

Feb. 22: DWallet Labs announced the testnet launch of dWallet Network, a first-of-its-kind composable modular signature network. According to the team: “The dWallet Network introduces a new primitive for multi-chain collaboration in Web3 – dWallets – a noncollusive and massively decentralized signing mechanism that can be used as a building block on L1s and L2s to sign native transactions to all chains. With assets always staying on their native chains, eliminating the cross-chain risks of wrapping, bridging or messaging. It’s the first-of-its-kind composable modular signature network built on dWallet’s new protocol 2PC-MPC.”

Binance Labs Invests in Renzo to Support Liquid Restaking on EigenLayer Ecosystem

Feb. 22: Binance Labs, the venture capital and incubation arm of Binance, has invested in Renzo, a Liquid Restaking Token (LRT) and strategy manager for EigenLayer, built to promote the widespread adoption of EigenLayer. “Renzo Protocol, an EigenLayer restaking hub, consists of Ethereum smart contracts that facilitate trustless collaboration between stakers, node operators, and Actively Validated Services (AVSs),” according to the team.

Clave Raises $1.6M in Pre-Seed Funding Round, Led by Matter Labs

Feb. 22 (EXCLUSIVE): Clave, a fintech dApp start-up aiming to provide an easy user experience for everyone to accelerate their on-chain journey, has raised $1.6M in a pre-seed funding round led by Matter Labs, the developer behind the layer-2 network zkSync. “The round also saw participation from Safe, Lambda Class and Mirana Ventures, as well as angel investors Sandy Peng of Scroll, Raj Parekh of Portal, Anurag Arjun of Avail, and many more industry leaders.”

Arbitrum Foundation Says Smart-Contracts Auditor OpenZeppelin Expanding to Arbitrum Stylus

Feb. 22: Arbitrum Foundation, supporting the Ethereum layer-2 network Arbitrum, announced a partnership with OpenZeppelin, a smart-contracts code auditor, “to enable next-generation development on Arbitrum Stylus,” according to the team: “What is Arbitrum Stylus? Stylus is an upgrade to Arbitrum Nitro, the tech stack powering Arbitrum One, Arbitrum Nova and Arbitrum Orbit chains. It opens the door for developers to write smart contracts in various languages, such as Rust, C, and C++, that compile to WebAssembly (WASM). OpenZeppelin Contracts and Defender will be getting expanded to Arbitrum Stylus while supporting builders in the ecosystem with best-in-class security services.” (ARB)

Aave Plans Expansion to BNB Chain

Feb. 22: Aave, the largest DeFi money market protocol, “with strong governance support from the community, is coming to BNB Chain,” according to the BNB team.

– “This move further expands the BNB Chain DeFi ecosystem, joining other industry heavyweights like Uniswap, Ambit Finance, PancakeSwap and Lista DAO.”

– “BNB Chain users will now have access to an industry leading lending platform and with strong liquidity on FDUSD, will be able to engage in more DeFi related activities.”

– “Aave users will benefit from being integrated with one of the largest DeFi ecosystems and have access to BNB Chain’s low fees.”

Wormhole Collaborates With AMD to Make Hardware Accelerators

Feb. 22: Wormhole, a blockchain interoperability platform, announced a collaboration with microprocessor maker AMD that will make enterprise grade AMD FPGA hardware accelerators available to the Wormhole ecosystem, including the AMD Alveo™ U55C and U250 adaptable accelerator cards. AMD will also lend its deep hardware acceleration expertise to help deliver speed and scalability to multichain applications being built with Wormhole. “AMD offers enterprise-grade FPGAs that are based on the most advanced architectures for scalable compute and flexibility for a breadth of applications. FPGAs can parallelize massive workloads, such as processing millions of multichain messages on Wormhole,” according to a blog post on AMD’s website.

Accelerator cards featured in AMD's blog post on Wormhole collaboration (AMD)
Accelerator cards featured in AMD’s blog post on Wormhole collaboration (AMD)

Inco Secures $4.5M in Seed Round, Launches Testnet ‘Gentry’

Feb. 22: Inco, leading developer of a universal confidentiality layer for Ethereum and other networks, has secured $4.5 million in a seed round led by 1kx, and launched its testnet Gentry. According to the team: “The testnet addresses Web3’s confidentiality challenges, blending EVM with FHE and secured by Ethereum via EigenLayer. With native on-chain confidentiality and randomness, Inco empowers diverse dApps including gaming, DeFi, private lending and blind auctions.”

Meso Network Raises $9.5M, Co-Led by Solana Ventures and Ribbit Capital

Feb. 22: Meso, a payment platform connecting banks and blockchains, announced it has raised $9.5 million in a seed round, co-led by Solana Ventures and Ribbit Capital, with participation from 6th Man Ventures, Canonical Crypto, Phantom Co-Founder Chris Kalani, Pinterest CEO Bill Ready and Archie Puri of Bodhi Labs. According to the team, “the network was launched by veterans from PayPal, Venmo and Braintree. Apps can integrate Meso to onboard users without first sending them off to a centralized exchange to fund their wallets.” Meso currently supports Ethereum, Solana and Polygon, and will add Arbitrum, Optimism and Base by the end of Q1.

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