Sovereign Labs has raised $7.4 million in seed funding led by Haun Ventures, co-founders Preston Evans and Cem Özer instructed TechCrunch.
The startup is building an “open, interconnected rollup ecosystem” with a software program growth package (SDK) to offer a framework for safe and interoperable zero-knowledge rollups (ZK-rollups).
“Sovereign’s aim has all the time been to make scaling [blockchains] easy,” Özer stated. “For individuals who have been on this house for four-plus years, it’s fairly clear that rollups and ZK-rollups are the way in which to scale blockchains to the plenty.”
A rollup is a blockchain that will get safety from one other blockchain, so it’s a manner so as to add performance to an current chain with out sacrificing safety, Evans stated. Rollups can be utilized to help totally different use circumstances like tokens, NFTs, sensible contracts and so forth — however they’re cheaper to function as a result of they outsource transactions.
The capital will likely be used to construct its SDK and rent protocol engineers and researchers with experience in blockchains and their frameworks, Özer stated. Its SDK needs to assist Rust (and ultimately C++) builders to make use of ZK expertise throughout any blockchain with out having to be specialists in cryptography, each the co-founders stated.
Some main ZK-rollup blockchains that exist at this time embody Polygon, zkSync and StarkWare’s StarkNet platform, which all goal to extend scalability and safety for builders off-chain by way of larger speeds and decrease charges earlier than combining and submitting them to Ethereum. Ethereum-focused ZK-rollup initiatives like dYdX, Sorare and Immutable are additionally engaged on scaling the house and bettering consumer experiences by way of different areas like decentralized exchanges, dApps and gaming.
“With out scaling, present blockchain techniques at this time are unusable,” Özer stated. “The second an utility reaches product-market match and there’s demand, the charges skyrocket and it turns into unusable […] functions have to determine tips on how to be scalable.”
Most ZK-rollup options are standalone merchandise constructed by and for the groups that work on them, Özer stated. Sovereign Labs “isn’t within the enterprise of constructing rollups ourselves,” however as a substitute needs to construct frameworks for others, he added. “We need to give this expertise to everybody to allow them to leverage it simply and create [their own] ecosystems.”
The workforce will work on creating totally different monetization methods, however its SDK framework will likely be open supply, free and “all the time will likely be,” Evans famous.
Within the close to time period, the co-founders anticipate rollups to be broadly inaccessible till frameworks like its SDK are developed. “Over time, SDK merchandise will develop into accessible,” Özer stated. “We anticipate an explosion of ZK-rollups and for many builders to leverage it.”
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