Today, we are excited to announce that Kosen Labs has closed a $5 million seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz with major participation from Framework Ventures and other strategic partners.
We are a team of ex-Google DeepMind AI researchers with extensive experience in designing and implementing cutting-edge solutions to machine learning and numerical optimization problems. The models we previously worked on have been used to defeat world champions in the game of Go, beat top professional teams in Starcraft, and optimize billions of dollars in revenue across various Google products.
Now, after spending years developing and deploying advanced AI techniques to optimise closed-source systems, we believe it is time for a change. The benefits of AI systems should be accessible to anyone, in an open and permissionless way. Blockchains such as Ethereum and the emerging web3 ecosystem of decentralized applications offer such a promise.
“The worlds of AI and web3 are beginning to intersect and create a whole design space that we’ve barely begun to explore,” said Ali Yahya, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “Miljan and Peter, the founders of Kosen Labs, are two brilliant researchers at that intersection. They are applying cutting-edge machine learning techniques to solve problems in the world of web3, starting with the DeFi problem of active liquidity management in modern decentralized exchanges.”
The web3 ecosystem is still very much in its infancy when it comes to using machine learning and statistical optimisation approaches, which is why we strongly believe that deploying these techniques can act as a big value multiplier for the whole space.
“Blockchains’ open source data and code are a panacea for building AI driven financial applications,” said Vance Spencer, co-founder at Framework Ventures. “The most impressive displays of AI — in our lifetimes — are likely to occur on-chain. Kosen Labs is a place where the brightest minds in AI can come and push the boundaries of what is possible at the intersection of finance and AI. We are beyond excited to back them.”
The mission of Kosen Labs is to bring the benefits of advanced AI to the decentralised economy.
As the first step on this mission, Kosen Labs will be focusing on delivering the best-in-class solution for active liquidity provision (LP) on the next generation automated market makers (AMMs), such as Uniswap v3 and Sushiswap Trident.
We are hiring for multiple, fully remote positions, so please check out our website for more information.
High costs and limited privacy functionality are pain points for Web3 users today and represent major barriers for the next waves of adoption and innovation. Soaring fees render many of today’s most popular decentralized applications inaccessible for large numbers of would-be consumers. Similarly, the fully transparent nature of most blockchain systems leave their applications unsuitable for any users that harbor sensitivities around their data. At Espresso Systems, we are building the scaling and privacy solutions that will unlock new possibilities for Web3 applications and usher in the next generation of users.
Espresso Systems is developing Espresso: a layer 1 blockchain system that combines proof-of-stake consensus and a ZK-Rollup mechanism to achieve high throughput and low fees. Espresso has also developed Configurable Asset Privacy for Ethereum (CAPE), an application that can run on any EVM blockchain (and will eventually run on Espresso natively). CAPE enables asset creators to offer users customized privacy guarantees.
Read more below about the way we are thinking about both scaling and privacy and how we are building the systems that will transform the possibilities of Web3. You can check out our first release of CAPE which will soon be live as a demo on Ethereum’s Rinkeby testnet. We have also open sourced Jellyfish, our library for zero-knowledge proofs and other cryptographic tools. Find us on Twitter and in Discord.
Espresso’s approach to scaling throughput involves a careful integration of ZK-Rollup for the EVM with a decentralized proof-of-stake consensus protocol. A ZK-Rollup is an emerging scaling technique, typically implemented as a layer 2 on top of an existing consensus protocol. A server aggregates a large number of transactions into a single summary transaction and produces a succinct zero-knowledge proof (zk-SNARK) of their validity, which is subsequently sent to the consensus system. This rollup proof compresses both the amount of information and the computation that the consensus protocol needs to validate the transactions, thus increasing the throughput. Several rollup solutions are in development for Ethereum, however, there is a caveat of the existing design space: the data availability problem. Users need data in order to construct new transactions. While a zero-knowledge proof can convey the validity of a transaction block without revealing its raw data content, it does not guarantee the availability of the data which is needed to build future transactions. To address the issue, existing rollups either include the raw transaction data within the summary transaction sent to consensus, or use a centralized data availability committee to sign off that it has seen the data. Neither is satisfactory: the first has limited compression and thus limited scaling, while the second undermines decentralization.
What is needed is an approach that can maximize throughput while maintaining decentralized data availability. At Espresso Systems, we are developing a solution to this by tightly integrating the ZK-Rollup scaling mechanism with our proof-of-stake consensus protocol from the start. The fact that the Espresso ZK-Rollup is natively integrated with consensus—and does not need to treat it as a black box—is what will enable Espresso to avoid the trade-off of other designs which approach the rollup as a separate modular component agnostic to the underlying consensus protocol.
We will be sharing much more about our approach to scaling over the coming weeks. For updates, please stay tuned via our Twitter and our Discord channel.
Configurable Asset Privacy on Ethereum
CAPE (Configurable Asset Privacy for Ethereum) is a smart-contract application developed by Espresso Systems which enables digital asset creators to determine who can see what information about the activity in the tokens they mint.
Digital assets on CAPE, from stablecoins to NFTs, can be customized to balance transparency, a noted benefit of Web3 products, with privacy, wherever it is required by users. While CAPE transactions appear anonymous and indistinguishable to normal viewers, hiding even the type of asset being transacted, the creator of an asset can configure a viewing policy, which ensures that select parties can decrypt select information about transactions for that asset.
CAPE can be used to create new assets or to wrap assets that already exist on Ethereum, endowing them with privacy properties. Wrapping an ERC-20 with CAPE requires the specification of a wrapper type, which configures who can see what and who can maintain specific controls regarding the assets in question. Wrapping locks the asset in the ERC-20 contract and creates a corresponding CAPE asset of the specified type, while unwrapping burns the CAPE asset and releases the lock.
While CAPE can be used by anyone looking to create or wrap assets, the protocol was designed with stablecoin providers specifically in mind. Stablecoin providers today generally want to maintain avenues to be able to address fraud, theft, and dispute resolution, demanding that they retain insights into the ledger of activity for their assets as well as controls like freezing capabilities. Prior to CAPE, there were no solutions for these types of asset creators to offer privacy-enabled versions of their tokens to users while being able to meet needs around visibility and dispute resolution. With CAPE’s viewing and freezing policies, this is now possible. In addition to empowering asset creators with these abilities, CAPE empowers users to be aware of and to actively opt in and out of what data they are sharing and who has insights into and control over their transactions.
CAPE is open sourced here. While CAPE can be run on any EVM blockchain, we will be deploying it soon as a demo on the Ethereum Rinkeby testnet with ultimate plans to migrate the application to Espresso and enable interaction with Ethereum assets via a token bridge.
You can check out CAPE’s open source contracts here and documentation here.
To make all of this a reality, we are thrilled to share that Espresso Systems has raised $32mm in funding led by Greylock Partners and Electric Capital with participation from Sequoia Capital, Blockchain Capital, and Slow Ventures. Espresso Systems also includes major industry players as backers, including Polychain Capital, Alameda Research, Coinbase Ventures, Gemini Frontier Fund, Paxos, and Terraform Labs.
This funding will provide the resources necessary to grow the team researching, building, and implementing the infrastructure and products that will make Web3 ready for broad adoption. The funds will also go towards bringing these products to market through a range of channels: distribution of native end-user products, developer adoption, and partnerships with entrepreneurs, startups, and enterprises.
Over the next few weeks, we will be deploying CAPE on the Ethereum Rinkeby testnet and releasing a graphical user interface for the application. We will also be sharing more about our scaling solution.
Check out our website for more here. And join the conversation on Discord and our community on Twitter.
Like most blockchains networks, Turing relies on a community of node operators to collect and agree on (“collate”) the transactions that get included in each block. Also like most blockchains (decentralized ones at least), Turing provides incentives for securing the network, allocating most of Turing’s 5% token inflation to stakers and collators.
While anyone can operate a Turing Network node (“collator”), only the 24 with the most staked TUR (self-bond + delegated) will be selected into the active pool for block production and rewards. By delegating stake to an existing collator, anyone with as few as 50 TUR can participate in Turing’s token rewards and help their selected collator to secure a spot in the active pool.*
OAK’s Delegator Overview provides links to applications, dashboards, and Turing staking guides to assist in selecting a collator, staking, and delegating. The team at OAK Network is proud to have support from StakeBaby,Web3Go, and other ecosystem partners to make staking easy and accessible to all!
Aptos Labs, a blockchain startup led by a group of former Diem developers, has raised $150 million in a Series A funding round led by FTX Ventures and Jump Crypto.
The raise boosts the capital Aptos received this year to $350 million and reportedly brings the firm’s valuation to $2 billion.
The wider crypto community has raised questions about the project’s advertised features and the amount raised.
Former Meta employees have raised $150 million in hopes of realizing Diem’s original goals. Aptos Labs announced on Monday that it has raised $150 million in a Series A funding round led by FTX Ventures and Jump Crypto, bringing its 2022 total fundraising to $350 million. A host of leading venture capital firms, including Andreessen Horowitz, Multicoin Capital and Circle Ventures, also participated in the latest round. According to an introductory blog post published in February, Aptos aims to be “the most secure and scalable Tier 1 blockchain” in the world.
It is designed and led by former Meta employees who worked on Diem (formerly known as Libra), Meta’s doomed blockchain-based stablecoin payment system. Aptos looks forward to building on and improving Dim’s work with the same group of renowned scientists and researchers. “Aptos was designed with a focus on absolute security, extensible scalability, and trusted neutrality—values we know firsthand and intuitively understand,” the February post reads.
This provided little information on how the project would achieve decentralization or solve the so-called “blockchain trilemma.” Commenting on the increase in a press release, Aptos Labs co-founder and CEO Mo Sheikh said that Aptos optimizes scalability, security, and ease of use. “We have known for a long time that due to problems such as failures and downtime, current blockchains are not suitable for mass adoption of Web3,” he said.
Several similar Tier 1 blockchains touting high transaction throughput, including Solana and Polygon, have suffered major network outages over the past year, necessitating the coordination of validators to restart and bring the networks back online. Aptos now says it is building a “next-generation layer 1” that will supposedly get around these issues, but the crypto community is not convinced.
For example, Framework Ventures co-founder Vance Spencer. asked his Twitter followers what Aptos could do that Solana couldn’t. Popular independent Ethereum educator Anthony Sassano responded with a dig at Solana-linked venture capital firm Multicoin Capital, saying it “gives Multicoin another chance to dump retail.” Some well-known crypto personalities have also raised concerns about the amount raised by the project. Evgeny Gaevoy, founder and CEO of crypto market maker firm Wintermute, asked how many millions would be needed to launch the blockchain shortly after the announcement, to which established crypto trader and Just Up podcast co-host Kobe ironically responded “as much as you can get.”
The latest $150 million raise likely doubled Aptos Labs’ March valuation of over $1 billion, according to Bloomberg. By comparison, in 18.4, the leading smart contract blockchain, Ethereum, raised about $18.4 million in 2014. According to the press release, Aptos will use the new capital to support the development of the project and create a blockchain that will support the “next billion users.”
OAK Network’s innovation, the event-driven transaction, allows users to create bespoke on-chain automation not possible today. Incumbent “automation” solutions are not consumer-friendly, requiring coding knowledge, AWS servers, and private key delegation. OAK’s more powerful transaction shifts the paradigm of automation from centralized servers to the blockchain. With OAK, users are empowered to schedule future and recurring payments, engage in trustless auto-trading, and place decentralized limit and stop-loss orders on AMM DEXs all without smart contract middlemen or compromising the security of a user’s wallet.
The OAK Network team received an open grant from the Web3 Foundation in May 2021, and won the 1st prize in the Polkadot hackathon in July. The team has developed a working proof of concept of the event registry on top of Parity’s Substrate open source framework. OAK Network’s chains are natively compatible with Polkadot, and will be integrated with Kusama and Polkadot as parachains through crowdloan auctions. The networks and timelines are,
Neumann Network, a parachain testnet that has been operating since June 2021.
Turing Network, a Kusama parachain to launch in Q2 2022.
OAK Network, a Polkadot parachain to launch in Q4 2022.
“The reason we chose Polkadot is because it has solved many critical problems of Ethereum. The blockchain comes with out-of-the-box solutions such as staking, DAO governance and inter-chain communication. The adoption of Polkadot will take time but technologically, many constraints have been lifted for us to develop the next generation blockchains.” says Chris Li, co-founder and CEO.
“We’re a team of utilitarian builders. We’re driven by the vision that in an increasingly decentralized world, there is a great need for automation to be seamless, trustless and secure for consumers of all generations.” — Irsal McGinnis, co-founder and CTO.
Ultimately, OAK Network will bridge to and facilitate other major blockchains such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana. The team is actively working with academia to develop cutting-edge solutions for cross chain communication and on-chain automation privacy.
Serokell is a software research and development company, focused on high complexity tasks in the area of computer science.
Our team is composed of developers, designers, engineers, computer scientists, and mathematicians, all to help you realize your vision.
We use functional programming to write robust code that works anywhere, anytime.
Initially, we worked with StakerDAO to implement the STKR governance token a monitoring app on Tezos. After that, we moved to BLND token and implemented a set of Ethereum contracts for holding BLND and performing buyback with them.
We also implemented a web app to run the buyback process.
After that, we designed and implemented the Bridge application and associated set of contracts that allow exchanging BLND and wXTZ tokens between Ethereum and Tezos.
We are working on Bridge backend support for ALgorand now.
Rand Labs is a blockchain development lab specialized in Algorand technology.
At Rand Labs we have developed specialized expertise in blockchain technology. Through 8 years of experience, we have worked closely with all major blockchain protocols and have garnered valuable experience in the industry that helps us deliver the maximum quality in our products and those of our partners.
We spend years training and advancing our team members' skills by facing ever more complex technical challenges in the blockchain space. Having helped and participated in the development of many of the most popular blockchain products in the world since 2013, we are in the capacity to deliver quality solutions regardless of the difficulty of the problem.
Despite having built numerous blockchain products and consensus upgrades from scratch, we believe a business-oriented acumen is as important in delivering maximum product-market fit. With our long history in the industry, we have developed a valuable network of relationships that is available to our partners. Additionally, The Rand Labs management team has been very active as investors and advisors in the space. We have invested in and advised very successful projects. As important, we have seen many projects fail which allowed us to learn valuable insights from those failures.
Product DevelopmentAlgorand Smart Contract development and auditsBackend developmentInfrastructureDev ops UX UI
Rand Labs has always been a fully remote company, way before the impacts created by COVID. We believe this has allowed our company to operate completely crypto native, including payroll, corporate structure, and revenue. We feel that by operating this way, every individual in our team is positioned to deliver the best products and solutions of this industry.
Staker Services provides technical, business and operation services for the cross-chain era. The Operations team specialised in the DeFi ecosystem, with experience in launching products across chains - from Ethereum to Tezos, Algorand, Polkadot and more.
"ChainSafe Systems is a blockchain research & development firm with a focus on building infrastructure for Web3. We are actively contributing to the Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Cosmos, Polkadot, and Filecoin ecosystems and are open to contributing to other Web3 ecosystems where we see merit. Feel free to visit our website or email [email protected] with any inquiries.”