Polymer’s $3.6M in Seed Funding Says IBC Is the Future of Crypto

The team plans to make blockchains like Ethereum and Solana more easily compatible with chains built using Cosmos’ Inter-Blockchain Communication protocol.

AccessTimeIconMar 2, 2022 at 7:11 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:10 p.m. UTC
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From Ethereum and Solana to Tezos and Avalanche, the past few years have seen the proliferation of dozens of blockchains, each with its own strengths, weaknesses and core use cases.

Against this backdrop, Polymer Labs has emerged from stealth with $3.6 million in seed funding to build out infrastructure for a multi-chain future. The round, which was co-led by Distributed Global and North Island Ventures, was also joined by CoinDesk parent company Digital Currency Group (DCG).

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  • Polymer Labs’ infrastructure is built to expand the IBC (Inter-Blockchain Communication) protocol, a standard originally developed for the Cosmos ecosystem to provide a way for different blockchains to easily communicate with each other. Typically, an app built on one blockchain is incompatible with other chains – requiring accident-prone, tedious-to-implement “bridges” to connect information from one ecosystem to another.

    Cosmos introduced a partial solution to this problem with IBC, providing a uniform set of blockchain-building standards that make it easy for assets and applications to seamlessly move across IBC-enabled chains.

    Polymer Labs is facing the reality that not all chains are built to IBC standards, and its routing and rollup protocol, Polymer, aims to make it easier for non-IBC blockchains to interact with chains based on IBC.

    “We spent a lot of time surveying the ecosystem and the different interoperability projects and different solutions,” co-founder Peter Kim told CoinDesk in an interview. “What we've found is that Cosmos’s documentation, and the IBC specification that Tendermint [now Ignite] built so far, have been some of the most robust that we’ve seen.”

    Growth on Cosmos

    By Cosmos’ own count, Cosmos hosts 28 different IBC-enabled blockchains with a combined market cap of $73 billion.

    A bulk of crypto activity still takes place on non-IBC chains like Ethereum and Solana, but Polymer’s infrastructure should make it easier for apps on these chains to interact with IBC-enabled chains like Terra and Osmosis.

    Polymer is still in its early days and does not yet have a token, but development will eventually be governed by PolymerDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization that will allow token-holders to vote on proposals determining the future of the protocol. According to a press release from the company, PolymerDAO will be the first DAO focused on IBC infrastructure.

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    CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

    Sam Kessler

    Sam is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for tech and protocols. He reports on decentralized technology, infrastructure and governance. He owns ETH and BTC.


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