Celestia Labs Raises $55M to Build Modular Blockchain Network

The combined Series A and B round was led by Bain Capital Crypto and Polychain Capital.

AccessTimeIconOct 19, 2022 at 4:30 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:00 a.m. UTC
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Celestia Labs, the team behind the Celestia blockchain network, has raised $55 million in a combined Series A and B round led by venture capital firms Bain Capital Crypto and Polychain Capital.

The fundraise pushes Celestia into unicorn status with a $1 billion valuation and was four times oversubscribed, says a person familiar with the matter.

Other participants in the round included Coinbase Ventures, Jump Crypto, FTX Ventures, Placeholder, Galaxy, Delphi Digital and several other venture capital and angel investors. Celestia previously raised $1.5 million in a seed round last March at an undisclosed valuation.

Founded in 2019, Celestia Labs is remaking blockchain architecture by betting on “modular” blockchain networks, which Celestia says makes it easier to deploy and scale blockchains.

Celestia is a stripped-down layer 1 blockchain that focuses solely on ordering transactions and making the data for transactions available. The blockchain does not handle smart contracts or perform computations. Instead, these are functions Celestia’s model outsources to rollups or other blockchains, a core component of its flexible, modular design.

So far, the crypto landscape has been dominated by monolithic blockchains such as Ethereum or Solana, which have struggled with issues such as scalability and outages.

“For the past decade, crypto has been bottlenecked by an endless loop of new monolithic [layer 1] smart contract platforms, each racing to the bottom to sacrifice decentralization and security to provide cheaper transaction fees,” said Celestia Labs co-founder Mustafa Al-Bassam. “Web3 cannot scale within the constraints of a monolithic framework.”

A modular blockchain, according to Celestia, allows the core functions of blockchains – consensus, settlement, data availability, and execution – to be decoupled into separate layers, avoiding the trilemma that typically plagues monolithic blockchains.

Monolithic vs. Modular blockchains (Celestia Labs)
Monolithic vs. Modular blockchains (Celestia Labs)

Developers building Web3 applications in the Celestia network can also mix and match different kinds of infrastructure and still be interoperable.

“Modular designs are unlocking rapid experimentation across the decentralized application stack,” said Bain Capital Crypto partner Alex Evans in a statement. “By minimizing base-layer complexity, Celestia offers cleaner abstractions for developers and greater sovereignty for communities of users.”

Celestia launched its testnet in May 2022, but has yet to announce a token.

UPDATE (Oct. 19, 16:38 UTC): Corrects nature of launch to testnet, not mainnet.

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Tracy Wang

Tracy was the deputy managing editor at CoinDesk. She owns BTC, ETH, MINA, ENS and some NFTs.


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