Protocol Village: Cosmos-Based Picasso Network Claims to Enable First IBC-Ethereum Connection

The latest in blockchain tech upgrades, funding announcements and deals. For the period of March 28-April 3.

AccessTimeIconApr 4, 2024 at 1:23 p.m. UTC

April 3: Picasso Network, a Cosmos-rooted interoperability network, announced an integration between the IBC (Inter-Blockchain Communication Protocol) and Ethereum, "enabling seamless asset and data transfers between Ethereum and Cosmos" for the first time, according to the team: "Picasso selected Osmosis, the DeFi Hub, to serve as the primary destination for Ethereum assets and liquidity within the Cosmos. This integration is a step forward in bringing 'IBC everywhere,' and serves to connect some of the deepest liquidity reserves and most promising projects in the Ethereum and Cosmos ecosystems." The team plans a Solana-IBC connection later this month. CoinDesk 20 assets: (ETH) (ATOM)

Somnia Project, Backed by Virtual Society Foundation to Focus on Metaverse, Releases Litepaper

April 3 (PROTOCOL VILLAGE EXCLUSIVE): The Virtual Society Foundation (VSF) is introducing the Somnia Project, consisting of an L1 and omnichain protocols tailored for the metaverse, "aiming to unite disparate virtual realms into a cohesive society capable of onboarding millions of users," according to the team. "Developed in collaboration with Improbable, Somnia's blockchain boasts transaction speeds >100K TPS, with sub-second finality, and affordability, addressing the fragmentation plaguing the metaverse landscape and ensuring equitable value distribution among creators. Somnia's upcoming Betanet protocol, will be integrated into MSquared's Origin engine. This will enable events on the metaverse to facilitate over 10K people across music, sport, gaming, etc." Details of the project were released Wednesday along with a litepaper. The VSF, unveiled last week, was initiated by Improbable, a British metaverse-focused startup that raised $150 million in 2022 from investors including a16z and SoftBank.

Stack diagram of Somnia tech and ecosystem (Somnia)
Stack diagram of Somnia tech and ecosystem (Somnia)

Legitimate, Platform for 'Phygital Products,' Raises $4.3M

April 3 (PROTOCOL VILLAGE EXCLUSIVE): Legitimate, an on-chain project to keep physical assets in sync with their digital counterparts, has closed its $4.3 million seed round, led by Lemniscap, with participation from Draper Associates, Sfermion Factor VC and others. According to the team: "Legitimate enables projects to embed a wide range of digital content into their physical goods via Legitimate's LGT Tags, which are special encrypted NFC (Near Field Communication) chips that are integrated seamlessly into clients' supply chains and manufacturing processes. Legitimate’s technology has been used by Puma, AMBUSH and Roc Nation to power unique consumer experiences." From the project documentation: "When integrated into the LGT Protocol, a product is capable of becoming a phygital (physical + digital) product."

GnosisDAO Approves Proposal to Integrate 'Hashi' as Security Framework in Gnosis Chain Canonical Bridges

April 3: GnosisDAO, the community behind the EVM-compatible layer 1 Gnosis Chain has approved the proposal to integrate Hashi, the additive security framework into Gnosis Chain's canonical bridges. Accordingf to the team: "This upgrade marks a new standard for secure, decentralized cross-chain transactions focusing on future-proofing, additive security and support for over 15 General Message Passing bridges and ZK light clients. Key highlights of the approved proposal include a detailed plan to allocate $250,000 – 50% in USD and 50% in 1-year-time locked GNO – towards the integration effort." (GNO)

Range Protocol Evolves to 'Skate,' to Address 'App Fragmentation'

April 3: Range Protocol, describing itself as a "liquidity provisioning platform" with AMM vaults on DEXs like Uniswap and Pancakeswap, is launching "Skate, the universal application layer that empowers apps to run on thousands of chains, with one state," according to the team. "Aimed to address app fragmentation in the complex multi-chain landscape, Skate introduces the concept of a Universal Application Scope with a 2024 mainnet launch. Backed by leading investors like EigenLayer, Polygon, Manta, Axelar, Biconomy, Pendle, A41 and more, essential apps can now be developed collectively and maintained in a shared pool accessible to all chains, regardless of its underlying Virtual Machine Environment." The project's main account on X has already been updated to the name "Skate (fka Range Protocol)," and points to a new handle, @skate_chain.

Origin Protocol Token Holders Propose to Merge OGN and OGV

April 2: Origin Protocol announced that its OGN token holders have proposed to merge OGN and OGV tokens, to boost Ethereum liquid staking, according to the team: "OGN – Origin’s first token, launched back in 2020 – was listed on Coinbase just months later. OGV, which has been appreciating greatly, reflects Origin’s growing revenue and total value locked. The goal of the merger is to capitalize on OGV's undervaluation, as it serves as the value accrual token for Origin's DeFi products, including the successful Origin Ether, which has over $160 million in total value locked. OGN is backed by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen and Y Combinator president Garry Tan."

IoTeX, Blockchain Focused on DePIN, Raises $50M

April 2: IoTeX, an Ethereum-compatible blockchain optimized for DePIN, announced a $50 million investment from Borderless Capital, Amber Group, Foresight Ventures, FutureMoney Group, SNZ, Metrics Ventures, EV3 and Waterdrip Capital into the IoTeX Ecosystem, "to meet the growing demand for bridging real-world data with IoT devices to Web3," according to the team: "This investment will drive DePIN growth and adoption through an investment in long-term staked $IOTX, the DePIN token that governs and fuels the IoTeX DePIN ecosystem, as well as investment in the DePIN projects building on IoTeX with the IoTeX Foundation and the DePINsurf accelerator fund." (IOTX)

IoTeX Team (IoTeX)
IoTeX Team (IoTeX)

Pontem Says L2 Pontem to Integrate With EigenDA

April 2: Pontem, a product development studio building Move and EVM-compatible products "to enable a safer, more performant and developer-friendly Web3, will partner with EigenLabs to enable novel use cases for the emerging ecosystem of applications on the EigenLayer ecosystem," according to the team: "By integrating with EigenLabs’ product EigenDA, Pontem’s L2, Lumio, will experience improved transaction speeds, cross-rollup transactions, security, decentralization, and user experience, all of which are essential for the growth and success of the Web3 ecosystem. According to a project spokesperson, it will take Pontem one to two months to integrate the testnet."

Burnt Banksy-Affiliated XION Project Raises $25M

April 2: XION, a new "generalized abstraction" layer-1 blockchain launched last month by Burnt Banksy, announced a $25 million fundraise "to ultimately abstract away all crypto complexities, making Web3 accessible to everyone," according to the team. Investors included Animoca Brands, Laser Digital (Nomura), Multicoin, Arrington Capital, Draper Dragon, Sfermion and GoldenTree, according to a press release. "XION has already demonstrated significant usage and adoption during its test phase with the creation of more than 1.3 million Meta Accounts, the smooth processing of over 15 million transactions and an ecosystem of over 150 projects. The new capital will allow XION to continue quickly expanding its development and global ecosystem." (EDITOR'S NOTE: Protocol Village covered the XION launch in early March when Burnt Banksy set himself on fire as part of an art-performance-cum-publicity-stunt.)

Schematic from the XION white paper. (XION)
Schematic from the XION white paper. (XION)

Celestia's 'Blobstream' Expands Beyond Base to Arbitrum

April 2: Celestia, a blockchain data-availability project, said its Blobstream product – for relaying commitments of Celestia's data root using an on-chain light client, has deployed to Arbitrum One. According to the team: "Developers can soon deploy Orbits with Celestia underneath on Arbitrum One and Base, the first modular DA integration with working Nitro fraud proofs." According to a tweet thread: "Before Celestia, throughput limitations forced developers building expressive on-chain applications to migrate to alt-L1s or required the overhead of recruiting a committee to deploy their own chain. With Blobstream, developers can keep building in the Ethereum ecosystem – spin up customizable, high-throughput blockspace without needing to recruit a committee or use a centralized server for DA." (TIA) (ARB)

Schematic showing how Celestia's Blobstream works. (Celestia)
Schematic showing how Celestia's Blobstream works. (Celestia)

Rootstock Developer IOVLabs Changes Name to 'RootstockLabs'

April 2: IOVLabs, the developer behind Rootstock, an Ethereum-compatible smart-contracts platform atop Bitcoin, has changed its name to RootstockLabs. According to the team: "RootstockLabs' belief is that Rootstock is one of the primary ways that the Bitcoin blockchain reaches civilization scale. The change in name reflects that belief. RootstockLabs are also reaffirming their mission. To support the growth of the Rootstock ecosystem, to give developers the tools to build on Bitcoin, and to expand the frontiers of decentralized technology." The company's chief scientist is Sergio Demian Lerner, co-founder of the Rootstock platform.

Fhenix Plans 'FHE-Based Coprocessors' in Collaboration With EigenLayer

April 2: Fhenix, an Ethereum layer-2 platform based around fully homomorphic encryption (FHE), announced it's collaborating with restaking protocol EigenLayer to "pioneer FHE coprocessors to boost Ethereum confidentiality and scalability," according to the team. "These FHE-based coprocessors are secured by Fhenix’s optimistic FHE rollup infrastructure and EigenLayer’s restaking mechanism," according to a press release. The goal is to "optimize tasks while ensuring data privacy, enabling unprecedented performance levels. With instant fraud-proof confirmation, they promise vast applications from confidential auctions to private AI analysis."

DWallet Network to Bring 'Programmable Native Bitcoin' to Rollups in Avail Ecosystem

April 2: Avail, a modular blockchain solution designed to unify Web3 and optimize data availability (DA), has partnered with dWallet Network, "a pioneering non-collusive, decentralized multi-chain layer, to bring programmable native Bitcoin to rollups in the Avail ecosystem," according to the team: "Leveraging the newly unveiled dWallet primitive, smart contracts using rollups built on Avail DA will be able to programmatically manage native BTC for the first time while preserving user ownership."

Pundi X, DePIN-Focused Chain, Launches SoFi Initiative 'PURSE+'

April 2: Pundi X, a DePIN-focused blockchain, has launched PURSE+, "a new SocialFi initiative aimed at updating the social media experience," according to the team: "As a web browser extension for X (formerly Twitter), PURSE+ combines social networking with financial incentives, offering users a more rewarding interaction on X. This initiative aims to change how users engage with content, communities and each other on X, offering rewards for engagement through a simple web browser extension. By DeFi mechanisms being embedded into social interactions, users can finally control the value they generate, shifting from passive to active participation."

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Lorenzo Plans First 'Bitcoin Liquid Restaking' Protocol Using Babylon Tech

April 1: Babylon, a bitcoin staking protocol, announced a strategic integration to advance Lorenzo Protocol's bitcoin liquid restaking product, according to the team: "Lorenzo Protocol will be constructed utilizing Babylon technology. Through the integration, Lorenzo Protocol’s BTC liquid restaking tokens (stBTC) will be representations of bitcoin staked through Babylon's bitcoin restaking protocol. The integration ensures security alignment as Lorenzo Protocol's liquid restaking tokens are only available on layer 2s that are secured by Babylon's bitcoin staking and timestamping protocol."

BSX, Non-Custodial CLOB Perps DEX on Base, Launches Open Beta

April 1: BSX, a non-custodial central limit order book (CLOB) decentralized exchange (DEX) for perpetual futures contracts, built on Coinbase's layer-2 chain, Base, and backed by the Base Ecosystem Fund and advised by BitMEX founder Arthur Hayes, has launched its Open Beta on mainnet. According to the team: "BSX aims to compete with leading centralized exchanges (CEXs) by offering low-fee trading and CEX-like trading performance (10 ms order matching), while giving users full self-custody. BSX was born out of the turbulent collapse of FTX, which the BSX founders witnessed personally as they worked at Coinbase, Jump, Kraken and FalconX. BSX’s public testnet saw strong traction with over 5B in volume traded and over 4,000 unique traders."

Portal Announces Collaboration to Integrate DEX With SatoshiSync's Inscription Protocol

April 1: Portal announced a collaboration to integrate Portal's DEX with SatoshiSync's chain-agnostic inscription protocol for the Bitcoin finance ecosystem. According to the team: "The collaboration will advance the cross-chain trading of SatoshiSync's native token $SSNC by simplifying and securing the process for users to trade and manage assets across multiple blockchains. Portal's extensive network of blockchains using the Portal Swap SDK will enable the seamless trading of $SSNC, SatoshiSync-bridged Ordinal NFTs and other assets within their ecosystems to deliver a frictionless trading experience for everyone."

Gitcoin Grants Latest Round Includes $1M for Various Initiatives

April 1: Gitcoin Grants is "back with GG20, funding open-source software (OSS)," according to the team, "through the following initiatives: Hackathon Alumni: $100K dApps & Apps: $300K Web3 Infrastructure: $300K Developer Tooling and Libraries: $300K. That's +1 million in funds for open-source software. Applications open April 2-16. Further queries go to"

Horizen Team Deploys Proof Verification Chain to Testnet

March 31: The Horizen blockchain team has deployed its new "proof verification chain" to testnet, claiming the new offering is "the latest component of the modular blockchain stack." According to a blog post: "This network allows for the exchange of $ZEN (Horizen’s native token) and verification of FFLONK Proofs produced by Polygon zkEVM instances." Key elements include the "proof submission interface, a user-friendly interface that enables ZK rollups to submit proofs seamlessly to the Horizen network for verification," as well as an "attestation mechanism, a protocol published on date to Ethereum and validates proofs (providing additional transparency)."

Schematic showing how the New Horizen chain would work in conjunction with a Polygon CDK chain to verify proofs. (Horizen)
Schematic showing how the New Horizen chain would work in conjunction with a Polygon CDK chain to verify proofs. (Horizen)

Degen Community, Syndicate Launch 'Degen Chain'

March 28: Degen, a community token in the Farcaster ecosystem, and Syndicate, a Web3 infrastructure provider, launched Degen Chain, an ultra-low-cost L3 for the $DEGEN community built with Arbitrum Orbit, Base for settlement, and AnyTrust for data availability. According to the team: "The chain’s native gas token is $DEGEN, making it one of the first community tokens with its own L3. The Degen and Syndicate teams will support builders on Degen Chain with developer tools like Syndicate’s Transaction Cloud APIs, offering free gas for developers on Degen Chain."

Crypto Hacks, Rug Pulls in 1Q Narrow 23% vs. Year Earlier, Immunefi Says

March 28: Immunefi, a bug bounty and security services platform for Web3 protecting over $60 billion in assets, releases its Crypto Losses in Q1 2024 report, for a loss of $336 million from the community to hacks and rug pulls in 2024 year-to-date, representing a narrowing of 23% when compared with the same period in 2023. According to Immunefi: "DeFi was the primary target for attacks, comprising 100% of cases, while CeFi experienced no incidents. Hacks continued to be the predominant cause of losses totaling $321 million, compared to frauds. Ethereum and BNB Chain were the most targeted chains."

Tezos Validators to Vote on Protocol Upgrade Proposals for Reducing Latency, Finality Times

March 28: Tezos blockchain validators will soon vote on protocol upgrade proposals published Thursday, according to the team: "Codenamed Paris A and B, the proposals include lowering latency and cutting finality to 10 seconds blocktime, and the activation of the DAL to boost throughput and scalability of L2. They differ on a proposed overhaul of PoS fundamentals, adjusting token issuance automatically to an on-chain market for staked funds. Paris B includes these features, whereas Paris A offers validators the possibility to activate them later, via a dedicated on-chain voting mechanism." {{TZS}}

New Edgeless Network, Powered by Arbitrum Nitro, Has No Application Layer Fees

March 28: Edgeless Foundation unveiled the Edgeless Network, describing it in a blog post as "the first ever crypto ecosystem without application layer fees, powered by Arbitrum Nitro." According to the post: "By using Arbitrum Nitro, Edgeless has the freedom to fully customize its L2 infrastructure and with EigenLayer data availability, to keep gas fees extremely low on the network (less than $0.01 on average). Edgeless is then able to share these sequencer fees with developers so that they get a direct share of the economic value they bring to the network. In addition to this, Edgeless uses ezETH by Renzo as the baseline liquidity yield bearing asset and a stablecoin created by Stable to give back yield earned on bridged assets to developers who build on the Edgeless Ecosystem."

Yolo Investments Puts $8M Into TON Network Ecosystem

March 28: Yolo Investments, a venture capital firm focused on gaming, fintech, blockchain and emerging technologies, has emphasized its support for the vision of The Open Network (TON) by making an $8 million investment in Toncoin and the broader TON ecosystem, according to the team: "Yolo Investments has invested in several TON-based start-ups, including Tonstarter, Fanton and PlayDeck. This partnership will also see TON Foundation and Yolo Investments support the growth and expansion of, a leading crypto education platform, that is also set to introduce a plethora of fresh content tailored to TON."

Stellar Development Foundation to Distribute $1M in Security Audit Credits to Soroban Builders

March 28: Stellar Development Foundation is launching the Soroban Security Audit Bank, which will distribute up to $1M in security audit credits in coordination with six top-tier audit firms to 20-30 high priority projects (financial protocols that manage on-chain value and that have the potential to be widely used) building on Soroban, their next generation smart contracts platform which just completed mainnet launch. This program complements the development and audit support that industry-leading web3 security firm, Certora, is providing to the ecosystem. CoinDesk 20 asset: (XLM)

Helika to Launch $50M Accelerator Program Funded by Pantera, Spartan, Sfermion

March 28: Helika, a global infrastructure provider for traditional and Web3 gaming firms like Yuga Labs and Animoca Brands, announced it will launch a $50 million accelerator program funded by Pantera, Spartan Capital, Sfermion and other venture capital firms. According to the team: "This program aims to help top gaming studios develop Web3 games designed to sustain growth in users and revenue over time. Selected projects will benefit from Helika's expertise in tokenomics, chain selection, data analytics and more. Developer teams supported by Helika’s analysts, will be able to leverage data to identify user behavior patterns and drive desired outcomes."

Zircuit Launches 'Build to Earn' Program With Rewards for Devs

March 28: Zircuit, a fully EVM-compatible ZK rollup with parallelized circuits and AI-enabled security, launched its Build to Earn program on Wednesday to incentivize builders, founders and community members who contribute to the Zircuit ecosystem. Backed by Pantera Capital, Dragonfly Capital, and Maelstrom, Zircuit currently has over $700 million staked. According to the team: "Developers and ecosystem contributors who participate in the program stand to receive rewards for approved contributions."

Layer N, Modulus Unveil 'AI Functions' Tool for Use in Applications

March 28 (PROTOCOL VILLAGE EXCLUSIVE): Layer N, an "Ethereum StateNet" designed as a network of custom VMs, announced the launch of AI Functions, a tool that allows developers to integrate AI inference and AI use cases within their applications. This is in partnership with Modulus Labs, a company focused on bringing AI on-chain through ZK technology. Examples of use cases could include replacing AMMs with more sophisticated models, yield optimization strategies, gaming and AI crypto agents and AI arbitration. "Imagine a prediction market that includes AI-based arbitration of event outcomes, reducing the risk of consensus collusion," the team wrote in a blog post.

Schematic of the new "AI Functions" feature from Layer N and Modulus (Layer N)
Schematic of the new "AI Functions" feature from Layer N and Modulus (Layer N), Web3 Training Startup, Raises $6M, Led by Lightspeed Faction, Tagus

March 28:, a Web3 training and AI fine-tuning startup, has announced the close of a $6 million seed funding round led by Lightspeed Faction and Tagus Capital with participation from DCG, OKX Ventures, and Volt Capital. This investment will be used towards democratizing AI training and the development of its machine-learning and federated learning platform.

VeChain Announces 'Marketplace-as-a-Service,' Starting With Gresini Racing

March 28: VeChain announced its no-code digital asset tokenization platform, called Marketplace-as-a-Service (MaaS). According to the team: "MaaS was built to fulfill an important role within the digital-asset space, presenting enterprise and individual builders a low/no-code NFT platform for creating, selling and transferring digital assets with ease. MotoGP championship team, Gresini Racing, is the first enterprise client to deploy a marketplace on the platform supported by ExPlus. Leveraging a bespoke collection of IP-related content, Gresini Racing plans to offer digital collectibles to its large fanbase."

Screen grab from VeChain's Marketplace-as-a-Service for Gresini Racing. (Gresini Racing Web3 Marketplace)
Screen grab from VeChain's Marketplace-as-a-Service for Gresini Racing. (Gresini Racing Web3 Marketplace)

Neopin, Permissioned DeFi Protocol, Introduces 'Build Aggregated' Feature With Spark, Athena

March 28 (PROTOCOL VILLAGE EXCLUSIVE): Neopin, a protocol for "non-custodial, permissioned DeFi," introduced a new feature called "build aggregated," merging Spark protocol, Athena and the curve into a unified smart contract, bolstered by AI-driven optimization, according to the team: "This integration empowers users with streamlined operations and customizable exposure options, marking a significant leap in operational efficiency within the cryptocurrency landscape."

BloXroute Announces Mainnet Launch of 'Validator Gateway'

March 28 (PROTOCOL VILLAGE EXCLUSIVE): BloXroute, a blockchain distribution network, announced the public launch of its Validator Gateway, designed to optimize Ethereum validators' performance and significantly boost their rewards, according to the team: "Over 30K validators locked $4B on the testnet, leveraging advanced technology, enhancing block proposal processes, accelerating block propagation and providing validators with a strategic advantage in the competitive blockchain landscape. With seamless integration with existing validator setups, the Validator Gateway makes it easy for network decentralization to continually grow."

The Graph Network, Leading Blockchain Indexer, Adds Support for Bitcoin

March 28: The team behind The Graph Network, including the developer Edge & Node, announced that the network now supports Bitcoin. According to the team: "With the introduction of a new Bitcoin Firehose implementation and a BRC-20 subgraph GraphQL API, The Graph enables developers to access Bitcoin data directly through subgraphs and Substreams, facilitating easy access to Bitcoin data. This development not only enhances the utility of Bitcoin within The Graph's decentralized network but also opens up new avenues for developers to build innovative applications — at a moment in time when there’s a renewed surge of interest in Bitcoin and the emergence of Bitcoin Layer 2s. Devs building on Bitcoin or Bitcoin Layer 2s can email for indexing support or assistance and help getting started building with The Graph." (GRT) (BTC)

Edited by Bradley Keoun.


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Bradley Keoun

Bradley Keoun is the managing editor of CoinDesk's Tech & Protocols team. He owns less than $1,000 each of several cryptocurrencies.