Thiel-Backed Cryptography Startup Lagrange Raises $13M

Lagrange, which specializes in zero-knowledge cryptography, is the latest startup to ride EigenLayer's "restaking" wave.

AccessTimeIconMay 8, 2024 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated May 10, 2024 at 7:46 p.m. UTC

Peter Thiel's Founders Fund led a $13.2 million seed funding round into Lagrange Labs, a cryptography startup based on Ethereum's EigenLayer restaking platform.

Lagrange specializes in zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs – a way for computers to mathematically verify certain kinds of data. Zero-knowledge proofs, a type of cryptography, have wide applications to blockchains and have become a popular component of layer-2 "rollup" chains, which are used to make networks like Ethereum faster and cheaper for end-users.

Lagrange explained its main product in a statement shared with CoinDesk, describing its zero-knowledge "coprover," targeted for release later this month, as "an off-chain network of specialized nodes that execute intensive computations and generate ZK proofs of the result."

Decentralized applications on blockchain can use the platform to "verifiably access computations that would otherwise be too heavy to compute on-chain, without ever having to trust the off-chain prover to give them the correct result," according to the statement.

In other words, the whole system acts as a way for blockchains – which are expensive and sluggish for certain kinds of activities – to run some kinds of computations cheaply and quickly off-chain.

"Our proving systems and our proof constructions are able to scale to these very big-data scales of verifiable computation that otherwise would have, historically, been infeasible," Lagrange founder Ismael Hishon-Rezaizadeh said in an interview.

Lagrange will base its security on EigenLayer, an increasingly popular platform on Ethereum that allows users to "restake" ether (ETH) tokens to help secure upstart blockchain apps in exchange for extra rewards. Some $6 billion worth of restaked assets has already been allocated to the security of Lagrange, according to Hishon-Rezaizadeh.

Over time, once EigenLayer matures, those assets will be used to help hold Lagrange's operators accountable – meaning the organizations that operate the platform's infrastructure can have some of their stake revoked if they act dishonestly.

As EigenLayer continues to build out its core technology, Lagrange will have "a set of operators from very, very reputable groups that run our infrastructure," said Hishon-Rezaizadeh. Those operators will include Kraken, the crypto exchange, and Galaxy, a crypto-financial firm, among others.

In addition to Founders Fund, Lagrange's seed round included participation from Archetype Ventures, 1kx, Maven11, Fenbushi Capital, Volt Capital, CMT Digital, Mantle and Ecosystem

CORRECTION (May. 10, 19:42 UTC): Corrects spelling of Ismael Hishon-Rezaizadeh .


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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.