ZkLink, an infrastructure layer that makes it easier to trade assets across blockchains, raised $10 million in a strategic funding round from a lineup of investors that included the venture capital arm of crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN). The fundraise will help drive zkLink towards its mainnet launch in the third quarter.
Crypto venture capital funding rode the bull market of 2021 off a cliff as the bear market and post-scandal turbulence hit. Still, infrastructure projects proved to be resilient, and noted venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz highlighted the promise of zero-knowledge (zk) technology in its recent annual report on the crypto industry.
The race to launch zk-based technology has started to intensify. Polygon and Matter Labs announced in March the mainnet launch of dueling zk-EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) offerings within days of each other. For zkLink, the company will launch a community campaign called “Odyssey” and the “Dunkirk” asset withdrawal test ahead of its own mainnet launch.
"ZkLink plays a crucial role in shaping the future of the crypto landscape by leveraging the potential of ZK technology,” co-founder Vince Yang said in an email to CoinDesk. “For newcomers to the field, envision a scenario where [decentralized finance] DeFi trading delivers comparable user experience, efficiency and speed as centralized exchanges, but also provides the advantages of being trustless and non-custodial.”
ZkLink is built around zero-knowledge rollups, an Ethereum scaling approach that mathematically proves the validity of an off-chain transaction to save time, throughput and fees. The company’s decentralized trading layer connects layer 1 blockchains and layer 2 protocols. Developers can use its application programming interfaces (API) to create a wide range of products, including order book decentralized exchanges and non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces, among others.
Additional investors in the funding round, which brought zkLink’s total funding to $18.5 million to date, included Ascensive Assets, SIG DTI, BigBrain Holdings, Efficient Frontier and others.
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