Nischal Shetty's Blockchain Startup Shardeum Raises $18M in Seed Funding

The co-founder of WazirX, India's largest crypto exchange, is now trying to expand a network that promises greater scalability, faster transaction times and lower fees.

AccessTimeIconOct 18, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 18, 2022 at 3:51 p.m. UTC

Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

Shardeum, a layer 1 blockchain co-founded by Nischal Shetty, a co-founder of WazirX, India's largest crypto exchange by trading volume, has raised $18.2 million in a seed funding round from more than 50 investors, including Jane Street, Struck Crypto and the Spartan Group.

The capital will go toward hiring more employees, expanding its network and increasing its community, Shetty told CoinDesk in an interview.

Other investors in the round included Big Brain Holdings, DFG, Ghaf Capital Partners and Foresight Ventures, among others.

Shardeum is an Ethereum virtual machine-based sharded blockchain, meaning anything that works on Ethereum can work on Shardeum.

Sharding generally refers to splitting a blockchain’s infrastructure into smaller pieces to improve scalability, a noted problem with the Ethereum blockchain, and to speed up transaction times and lower fees. Shardeum can scale infinitely, expanding transactions per second as demand increases, Shetty said.

“Shardeum acts a lot like your traditional websites, where if you get a lot of traffic, you just add a server so it expands,” he said. “The same concept works on Shardeum, where every time there’s a lot of traffic, you need more transactions. You just add more nodes and the transaction capacity increases.”

Shardeum isn’t the first sharded blockchain. Near is another notable example. Shetty says Shardeum stands apart by expanding transactions per second every time a node joins a network rather than having to add a shard for each increase. Shardeum also offers "atomic composability," meaning that smart contracts can communicate between shards.

End users are often required to take on the complexity of a sharded blockchain by choosing which shard to use, whereas users can interact with Shardeum in the same way they do with a traditional blockchain like Ethereum.

In the next couple of weeks, Shardeum plans to introduce an "autoscale" feature that will allow the transactions per second to automatically contract when traffic goes down. The blockchain’s test network will launch by the end of the year with the mainnet following in the second quarter of 2023.

Over the next year, Shardeum will host hackathons in India and the U.S. and provide an incentive platform for developers who want to help build and grow the blockchain’s ecosystem.

“We’re looking at India as one of the major markets for us. There’s never been an L1 built in India,” Shetty said, noting that Shardeum plans to enter other emerging markets.

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Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

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Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.