Protocol Village: Sentinel Releases Decentralized VPN App for Android, Says Apple iOS Support to Follow

The latest in blockchain tech upgrades, funding announcements and deals. For May 23-29. NOTE: Protocol Village will be on a limited publishing schedule May 24-June 2 as we cover CoinDesk's Consensus conference in Austin, Texas. Hope to see you there!

AccessTimeIconMay 28, 2024 at 2:11 p.m. UTC

May 28 (PROTOCOL VILLAGE EXCLUSIVE): Sentinel, a specialist in decentralized privacy technologies, relased "Sentinel Shield dVPN" app for Android devices. Apple iOS support will soon follow. According to the team: "Sentinel Shield is Sentinel’s first flagship product in the three years since the network transitioned to a Cosmos-based chain from Ethereum, democratizing access by decreasing cost and energy inefficiency and simplifying governance mechanisms… Built on Sentinel's robust dVPN protocol, the open-source app helps create highly secure and private internet access points. Unlike traditional VPNs, which often rely on centralized or semi-distributed systems, Sentinel Shield operates entirely on a peer-to-peer basis, ensuring that users enjoy unmatched privacy and security." The application's backbone is the growing global network of nodes, with currently 4,005 nodes distributed across 420 cities in 110 countries, according to Sentinel.

Schematic showing how Sentinel's dVPN solution works, from the project's white paper. (Sentinel)
Schematic showing how Sentinel's dVPN solution works, from the project's white paper. (Sentinel)

Dune, Platform for Web3 Analytics, Launches 'Dune Catalyst' for Streamlined Blockchain Integrations

May 28: Dune, a platform for Web3 data analytics, announced the launch of "Dune Catalyst, for streamlined blockchain integrations. This empowers EVM blockchains to independently bring their data onto the Dune platform via a templated API, and all other chains in the near future, marking a significant step in the journey towards multichain data accessibility. Degen and Mode Network are among the first projects to benefit from Dune Catalyst."

Ethereum-Based Domain Protocol ENS Seeks Own L2, Possibly With ZkSync

May 28: Ethereum Name Service Labs, the company behind the ENS domain name protocol, proposed Tuesday to go through a complete architectural redesign that would turn the network into a layer-2 blockchain. The proposal, dubbed “ENSv2,” will overhaul the project's registry system as part of the transformation into a layer 2, which is an auxiliary network that provides cheaper transaction fees that can then be settled to the base blockchain, Ethereum.

Polygon Labs Expands Co-Founder Nailwal's Role to Chief Business Officer

May 28: Polygon Labs, the primary developer behind the Polygon layer-2 blockchain ecosystem, is expanding co-founder and Executive Chairman Sandeep Nailwal’s role to chief business officer. According to the team, Naiwal "has been actively engaged in collaborating with developers and enterprises since Polygon’s inception. Formalizing this role, Sandeep will head a global team and collaborate closely with developers and enterprises to leverage Polygon's expanding array of zero-knowledge solutions." (MATIC)

DYdX to Release 'V5.0' With Isolated Markets, Enshrined LP Vault

May 28: DYdX, the decentralized derivatives-trading project that moved last year from the Ethereum blockchain ecosystem to Cosmos, plans to release of its "v5.0" software update for dYdX Chain on May 30, according to the team. Features include:

  • Isolated Markets & Isolated Margin
  • Protocol-enshrined LP Vault
  • Slinky and Raydium Integrations
  • Batch Order Cancellation
  • Signature Verification Parallelization
  • Soft Open Interest Cap
  • Full Node Streaming

Coinflow Labs, Solution for Web3 Companies to Handle Payments, Raises $2.25M

May 28 (PROTOCOL VILLAGE EXCLUSIVE): Coinflow Labs, developing a solution that lets merchants to receive money instantly rather than wait multiple days for settlement on card payments, announced the closing of its $2.25 million seed round. The fundraise was led by CMT Digital with participation from Reciprocal Ventures, Jump Crypto, Draper Dragon and Digital Currency Group. "Coinflow provides a comprehensive payment stack that includes chargeback-free payment acceptance with instant settlement in stablecoins and offers an instant fund disbursement product," according to the team.

Ledger's New 'Stax' Touchscreen Device Starts Shipping to Pre-Order Customers

May 28: Ledger, the crypto hardware wallet maker, announced that Stax, a new touchscreen device, is now shipping to pre-order customers. According to the team: "Stax is the first-ever secure touchscreen device, bringing clarity and confidence to signing transactions and securing your digital value. It was designed by Tony Fadell, builder of the iPod. New orders for Stax will be available this summer."

Ledger's new 'Stax' touchscreen hardware wallet (Ledger)
Ledger's new 'Stax' touchscreen hardware wallet (Ledger)

EasyA Consensus Hackathon - Call for Participants

This year, Consensus is hosting its first ever in-person hackathon together with the world's number 1 Web3 learning app, EasyA. This will be a three-day, multi-chain IRL hackathon with world-class sponsors from Sui to Stellar to Polkadot and beyond, and will attract the world’s best developers to build the future of Web3 and raise funding for their projects.

Projects launched by EasyA alumni are valued at over $2.5 billion. The EasyA Consensus hackathon is going to be 2024's most important hackathon yet.

We have a few remaining spots left for hackers, so if you're excited about participating, make sure you sign up here!

Taiko, Ethereum-Equivalent ZK Rollup, Deploys on Mainnet

May 27: Taiko, a fully open-source, permissionless Ethereum-Equivalent ZK rollup, announced Monday it has deployed on mainnet, after two years of work on the project. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin proposed the inaugural block. "Taiko deployed Based Contestable Rollup (BCR), a type of based rollup that combines based sequencing and a contestation mechanism with multi-proofs," according to a blog post. "Based rollups rely on Ethereum block builders to sequence their transactions, which decentralizes the sequencer set, allowing the network to inherit liveness and security guarantees from the base layer." For the first couple of weeks, block proposing and proving will be done exclusively by the Taiko team, according to the post. "We first want to see the network stabilize before we open the gates for everyone to propose and prove."

Who Needs an Off-Ramp? Plans Visa Card for Crypto Degens

May 24: The newest product from liquid restaking startup could finally help "paper rich" crypto degens turn their blockchain investments into spending money. Cash will be a mobile wallet and Visa credit card that borrows USDC, the popular USD-pegged stablecoin, against one's decentralized finance (DeFi) investments and can be paid off directly via crypto.

Crypto Governance Advisory MetaLeX Raises $2.75M

May 23: Crypto proponents used to posit that "code is law." Courts and legal pundits ultimately forced the phrase into retirement. But there's still plenty of money in figuring out how the two intertwine. One such effort is crypto lawyer Gabriel Shapiro's MetaLeX, a hybrid law firm/tech company focused on the mess that crypto projects make when trying to "decentralize." MetaLeX recently raised $2.75 million in seed funding led by Cyber Fund. It is now valued at $27.5 million, Shapiro said.

Cysic, ZK Hardware Acceleration Project, Raises $12M

May 23 (PROTOCOL VILLAGE EXCLUSIVE): Cysic, a ZK (zero-knowledge) hardware acceleration company, announced that it has successfully raised $12 million in a pre-A funding round. The round was led by industry leaders HashKey Capital and OKX Ventures, and "aims to expedite the generation of ZK proofs in a faster, more cost-efficient, user-friendly and decentralized manner," according to the team.

Cysic's zkVM-based hardware design architecture is "rather simple," according to the project documentation. (Cysic)
Cysic's zkVM-based hardware design architecture is "rather simple," according to the project documentation. (Cysic)

Protocol Village is a regular feature of The Protocol, our weekly newsletter exploring the tech behind crypto, one block at a time. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Wednesday. Project teams can submit updates here. For previous versions of Protocol Village, please go here. Also please check out our weekly The Protocol podcast.

Dfinity Launches 'EVM RPC' as API Allowing ICP to Read Other Chains

May 23: Dfinity Foundation, a major contributor to Internet Computer (ICP), announced that its "EVM RPC canister," described as "a new API that allows ICP smart contracts to read and write data on different chains," is now live. According to the team: "The EVM RPC is another major milestone in the development of Dfinity's Chain Fusion framework. It enables Internet Computer smart contracts to interoperate directly with all major blockchains, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, other EVMs, and soon, Solana, without having to rely on any intermediary." Additionally, "ckUSDC, an interoperable stablecoin pegged 1:1 to USDC, is now available for use across ICP."

Schematic illustrating Dfinity's "EVM RPC canister" (Dfinity)
Schematic illustrating Dfinity's "EVM RPC canister" (Dfinity)

Celo Foundation's Reinsberg Unveils 'Bloom,' a TGE Advisory

May 23: Celo Foundation President Rene Reinsberg announced "Bloom," an ecosystem token generation event (TGE) advisory, on Thursday at Dappcon in Berlin. According to the team: "Created to guide projects across all blockchain ecosystems preparing for a TGE and the product rollout that follows, the foundation will provide strategic and operational support including access to launchpad, exchange support and access to funding and investor network. Bloom unlocks more time and resources for product development and strategy, removing ambiguity so founders can focus on building projects that will create positive externalities for users globally."

Celo Foundation's Rene Reinsberg unveils "Bloom" at Dappcoin on Thursday (Charlie Havens)
Celo Foundation's Rene Reinsberg unveils "Bloom" at Dappcoin on Thursday (Charlie Havens)

Robinhood Wallet to Enable Gasless Swaps on Arbitrum

May 23: Robinhood Wallet will enable gasless swaps on Arbitrum starting Thursday, according to the team: "Users can swap without needing ETH for gas on Arbitrum, with 0x as the DEX aggregator behind the swaps. Once launched, users will be presented with the best swap rate available – whether gas swap or gasless swap – with no additional fees from Robinhood."

Horizen Labs Launches 'ZkVerify' as 'Dedicated Zero-Knowledge Proof Verification Network'

May 23: Horizen Labs, a primary developer behind the Horizen blockchain, is launching "zkVerify, a dedicated zero-knowledge proof verification network designed for settlement optimization, to address the largest expense that zkRollups and zkApps currently face which limit scalability and efficiency," according to the team: "ZkVerify offloads computationally intensive proof verification, enabling blockchains to focus on core functions. It integrates with multiple SNARK proving schemes and reduces verification costs by up to 91%. Currently, it supports Ethereum and Bitcoin L2s, with plans to expand to other architectures. ZkVerify is now live on testnet."

Schematic illustrating the zkVerify "proof verification chain" fro Horizen Labs (zkVerify)
Schematic illustrating the zkVerify "proof verification chain" fro Horizen Labs (zkVerify)

Analog, Cross-Chain Protocol, Launches Testnet With $ANLOG Incentives

May 23: Analog, a layer-0 cross-chain communication protocol and Web3 data provider, launched its incentivized testnet, allocating a minimum of 2% of token supply for participants, according to the team: "Analog’s testnet is open for developers, community and validators. Participants can complete quests and climb the ATP leaderboard to share $ANLOG. It empowers developers to build dApps with a diverse range of tools while allowing true interoperability between any blockchain network. Analog's core products form a powerful toolkit for cross-chain development."

Anolog ecosystem (Analog)
Anolog ecosystem (Analog)

Solana-Based DEX Zeta Markets Now Plans Own Layer-2 Network

May 23: Zeta Markets, a Solana-based DEX for trading perpetual swaps on-chain, is now planning its own layer-2 solution, 'ZX,' described as an "optimistic rollup built on Solana," according to the team. The mainnet launch is slated for early 2025. Concurrently, Zeta will also release a detailed Litepaper outlining the architecture and functionality of ZX. According to a press release: "ZX is an optimistic rollup built on Solana, utilizing zero-knowledge (zk) proofs for trustless on-chain settlement... Key features of ZX include high throughput of up to 10,000 transactions per second, sub 10 millisecond transaction confirmations competitive with leading centralized exchanges, seamless one-click trading, and up to 50x leverage with multiple collateral options."

Orderly Network Expands to Polygon PoS

May 23: Orderly Network, describing itself as a "permissionless liquidity layer for Web3 trading," has expanded to Polygon PoS by partnering with Quickswap, the leading DEX on Polygon PoS, to launch: Falkor, according to the team: “This integration is a testament to our versatility, as it enables an AMM like QuickSwap to widen their product offering and offer perpetual futures on Polygon PoS for the first time,” said Arjun Arora, COO, Orderly Network.

River Protocol Launches, From HNT Labs, Co-founded by Ben Rubin of HouseParty, Meerkat

May 23: River Protocol, created by HNT Labs, founded by Ben Rubin and Brian Meek, who received $33 million funding from a16z Crypto, Benchmark and Framework, is launching Thursday. Ben Rubin is founder of HouseParty and Meerkat. According to the team: "The River Protocol was designed for decentralized real-time messaging apps. River leverages an EVM-compatible L2 chain, decentralized off-chain nodes, end-to-end encryption and smart contracts on Base. With River, developers can create a wide range of products, including decentralized social networks, community governance platforms, secure messaging apps, and collaborative workspaces."

HAQQ-evmOS Integration Enables Cross-Chain With Cosmos, Ethereum

May 23: HAQQ Network, describing itself as an "ethics-first Web3 DeFi ecosystem with one of the highest daily active user counts on Cosmos," announced a "key partnership with evmOS, an EVM-compatible tech stack. Integration of evmOS functionality into HAQQ Network enables cross-chain compatibility with the Cosmos and Ethereum networks, providing HAQQ users and developers access to a broader range of DeFi functionalities."

Aptos Tips Launch of TruFin's Institutional-Grade Liquid Staking Solution, 'TruStake

May 23: The team behind Aptos blockchain shared that "TruStake Aptos vault will enable users to stake their APT while retaining flexibility and control of their assets – all within a permissioned environment that prioritizes security. Leveraging the scalability and performance of the Aptos blockchain, TruFin’s liquid staking solution will provide holders of APT with the ability to generate staking rewards on their holdings and access additional yield opportunities across DeFi protocols."

Plume, Layer-2 Blockchain for Real-World Assets, Pulls $10M in Seed Funding from Haun, Galaxy

May 23: As blockchain vies for mainstream acceptance this week in the halls of the United States Congress, a growing number of compliance-oriented crypto projects are hopeful that a more favorable regulatory environment could soon lead to a surge in blockchain-based RWAs, or real-world assets. One such startup, Plume, has raised $10 million in seed funding for what it says will be the first layer-2 blockchain purpose-built for RWAs. The round was led by Haun Ventures and included participation from Galaxy Ventures, Superscrypt, A Capital, SV Angel, Portal Ventures and Reciprocal Ventures.

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.