Protocol Village: DWF Launches $20M Fund for Web3 Projects in Chinese-Speaking Regions

The latest in blockchain tech upgrades, funding announcements and deals. For the period of June 27-July 3.

AccessTimeIconJul 4, 2024 at 3:49 a.m. UTC

July 4: Web3 investor DWF Labs has launched a $20 million Cloudbreak Fund to support promising projects in Chinese-speaking regions. According to the team: "The fund will back initiatives in GameFi, SocialFi, meme coins, and layer-1/layer-2 infrastructure, providing financial and strategic resources. Andrei Grachev, managing partner at DWF Labs, emphasized the commitment to fostering innovation and growth in Web3."

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Chainlink Deal With Fidelity International, Sygnum Brings NAV On-Chain

July 3: Chainlink, the blockchain oracle project, plans a collaboration with Fidelity International and Sygnum to bring Net Asset Value (NAV) data on-chain, based on an announcement made Wednesday at Point Zero Forum. According to the team: "In this landmark production use case for tokenized assets, the collaboration provides transparency and accessibility around key asset data for Sygnum’s recently issued on-chain representation of Fidelity International’s $6.9 billion Institutional Liquidity Fund. Sygnum, a global digital asset banking group, tokenized $50 million of Matter Labs’ company treasury reserves." (LINK)

Schematic illustrating the Chainlink setup for bringing NAV on-chain. (Chainlink)
Schematic illustrating the Chainlink setup for bringing NAV on-chain. (Chainlink)

Playbux, Metaverse Builder on BNB Chain, Launches Own L1 Gaming Chain

July 3: Playbux, a Web3 metaverse-focused developer initially established on BNB chain, has launched an AI-powered layer-1 zero-fee gaming blockchain. According to the team: "Playbux is expanding to become an AI-powered, gas-free L1, to grow its already leading foothold in the gameverse and break through costly transaction fees and lack of product optimization to user preferences. Playbux has strived to lower the barriers to entry and foster a more active and vibrant community. And the L1 launch will further allow Playbux to compete with the fast and free Web2 space but with the power of its AI engine driving user offerings and experience."

Obol Labs Forms Industry Group to Push for Decentralized Validator Technology

July 3: Blockchain startup Obol Labs has formed a new industry group that aims to advance the growing field of distributed validator technology – at the heart of the latest push by developers to eradicate single points of failures within decentralized networks like Ethereum. The Obol Collective includes a consortium of Ethereum ecosystem players "dedicated to the security, resiliency and decentralization of Ethereum consensus," according to a blog post Wednesday from Obol Labs. Obol Labs says the collective includes more than 50 staking protocols, client teams, software tools, education and community projects, professional node operators, home operators and stakers. Early participants in the collective include EigenLayer, Lido, Figment, Bitcoin Suisse, Nethermind, Blockdaemon, Chorus One, DappNode and ETH Stakers.

Oasys, Gaming Blockchain, Partners With Celer to Support Bridged USDC Standard

July 3: Oasys, a dedicated gaming blockchain, has "partnered with Celer to support the Bridged USDC Standard, becoming the first gaming blockchain to do so," according to the team: "Developed by Circle, this standard enables a potential upgrade path from bridged USDC to native USDC for eligible blockchains. The new bridged USDC, known as 'Bridged USDC (Celer)' with the symbol 'USDC.e,' is backed 1:1 by USDC locked in Ethereum smart contracts." Circle introduced the Bridged USDC Standard in November _ pitched as an alternative to native stablecoins on blockchains, since they're available wherever bridging is made possible.

Dfinity to Pilot 'Universal Trusted Credentials' in Cambodia for United Nations' UNDP

July 3: Dfinity Foundation, developer of Internet Computer protocol, has entered into a partnership with UNDP, the United Nations' lead agency on international development, to implement the Universal Trusted Credentials (UTC) initiative, according to a statement released Wednesday. "The DFINITY Foundation will utilize its expertise in decentralized compute platforms and digital identity solutions to develop and test the prototype for a robust data infrastructure (platform) for the UTC pilot initiative in Cambodia. This infrastructure will ensure the secure storage and management of digital credentials, enhancing the trust and reliability of the UTC system," according to the statement from UNDP. The agency originally announced the UTC initiative in November, alongside partners including Monetary Authority of Singapore and Bank of Ghana, stating at the time that the program would improve access to financing for micro, small and medium-size enterprises, or MSMEs.

Prodia, Distributed GPU Network for AI Inference, Raises $15M

July 2: Prodia, a distributed network of GPUs for AI inference solutions, raised $15 million, led by Dragonfly Capital, to build more scalable, affordable AI solutions powered by Web3, according to the team: "Joining the round were HashKey,, Index Ventures, Symbolic Capital, OKX Ventures and angels Balaji Srinivasan, Sandeep Nailwal (founder of Polygon) and Matthew Roszak (co-founder of Bloq) among several others. Prodia's Web3 infrastructure powers AI media inference solutions with unmatched low latency and cost efficiency. 'We’ve made it super easy to add AI into any app,' said Prodia co-founder, Mikhail Avady."

Ethos Network, Web3 'Credibility Protocol,' Raises $1.75M to Finalize Product Before Launch on Base

July 2: Ethos Network, founded in 2023 as a "a credibility protocol that encourages users to stake their Ethereum in other people," announced the close of its $1.75 million funding round, led by a collective group of prominent Web3 angel investors including Bharat Krymo, James Hall, 0xQuit, Tre, Dingaling, Sighduck, Dragos, 0xMakesy and Zeneca. According to the team: "The round will be used to finalize the Ethos product before going live on Base later this summer."

Prime Intellect Integrates With Akash Network for 'AI Models Through Distributed Training'

July 2: Prime Intellect, a project to harness surplus global computing power to build AI models through distributed training, has integrated with Akash Network. According to the team: "This partnership creates an entirely new way to access GPUs from the Akash Supercloud and allows Akash’s unique permissionless and peer-to-peer marketplace to reach a new cohort of AI developers in need of high-performance GPUs. This is part of Akash’s push to integrate with new platforms, including, and Morpheus, to reach new users."

Wavlake, Music Distribution Platform, Teams With ZBD to Enable Artist Tipping Over Bitcoin Lightning Network

July 2: Wavlake, a music and podcast distribution platform, has partnered with ZBD to revolutionize creator payments. According to the team: "Unlike Spotify and Apple Music, which pay meager royalties, Wavlake empowers independent musicians and podcasters. Through Wavlake, creators can upload content distributed across platforms like Listeners can tip artists using the Bitcoin Lightning Network, enabling instant microtransactions. Ainsley Costello earned over $700 in Bitcoin for a single track, outperforming Spotify. ZBD’s scalable infrastructure ensures seamless payments, fostering a fan-driven economy."

OpenLedger Raises $8M Seed Round Led by Polychain Capital and Borderless Capital

July 2: OpenLedger, the sovereign data blockchain for AI, raised $8 million in its seed round, led by Polychain Capital and Borderless Capital, according to the team: "Other investors include Finality Capital, Hash3 and HashKey Capital. OpenLedger provides permissionless infrastructure for data lifecycle, enabling verifiable data for AI models. The platform addresses the data bottleneck in AI development with a focus on verifiability, diversity, integrity and security. The team plans to launch its testnet in Q4 2024."

WalletConnect Launches 'WalletGuide' to Highlight Industry Standards

July 2: WalletConnect, a project focused on the Web3 user experience, announced the launch of "WalletGuide, an industry-first initiative to highlight digital wallets that adhere to the highest industry standards." According to the team: "The initiative is designed to be the ultimate directory for Web3 digital wallets, helping users and developers identify which wallets excel across a variety of standards, including safety/security, features, and quality, among others. Early industry collaborators for the initiative include MetaMask, Trust, Kraken, 1inch, Okx, Binance Web3 Wallet, Ledger, Bybit, Zerion, and Magic Eden."

Pi Squared, Building 'Universal ZK Circuit', Raises $12.5M

July 2: Pi Squared, a company setting out to enable verifiable computing through the use of zero-knowledge technology, announced Tuesday that it raised $12.5 million in a seed round led by Polychain Capital. Participation in the round included ABCDE, Bloccelerate, Generative Ventures, Robot Ventures and Samsung Next, as well as angel investors including the Ethereum Foundation's Justin Drake and EigenLayer founder Sreeram Kanaan.

RedStone, Blockchain Oracle Project Pushing Into Restaking, Raises $15M

July 2: RedStone, a provider of oracle data feeds for blockchains, announced Tuesday that it raised $15 million in a series A round, led by Arrington Capital. The fresh round of capital will go towards hiring new team members, according to a press release. Participation in the round included SevenX, IOSG Ventures, Spartan Capital, White Star Capital, Kraken Ventures, Amber Group, Protagonist, gumi Cryptos, Christian Angermayer's Samara Asset Group and HTX Ventures.

Bitcoin Could Get Ethereum-Style Restaking as Startup Lombard Raises $16M

July 2: In partnership with Bitcoin staking protocol Babylon, the startup Lombard has raised $16 million to build out Bitcoin-based restaking. In addition to capitalizing on the restaking hype, Lombard is the latest startup to integrate Bitcoin into the wider world of decentralized finance (DeFi) – an industry that so far has mostly been lacking on Bitcoin. Designs Layer-1 Chain With EvmOS for 'Public Permissionless Use with Curated Contract Deployment'

June 2:, describing itself as an "omni-chain DeFi layer-1 ecosystem that operates on Ethereum, Polygon, BNB Chain and Fantom through LayerZero bridging," has partnered with evmOS to deploy “Lif3 Chain” a layer-1 solution designed for public permissionless use with curated contract deployment."

Ironblocks' 'Venn' Network Aims to Keep Malicious Transactions From Ever Hitting Blockchains

July 2: Israeli crypto firm Ironblocks is spearheading a new security layer called Venn that will vet blockchain transactions before they're executed, potentially averting multimillion-dollar attacks and hacks.

Astria, Shared Sequencer Network, Raises $12.5M

July 1: (PROTOCOL VILLAGE EXCLUSIVE): Astria, a shared sequencer network, announced a $12.5 million strategic fundraise led by dba and Placeholder VC, with RockawayX joining the round. According to the team: "Maven11, 1kx, Figment Capital and Batu are returning investors. Angels include Yuki, DCBuilder, Hasu, Will Price and Jason Yanowitz. Bankless Ventures also participated. The funds will be used to continue building the Astria Sequencing Layer and Astria Stack, to enable anyone to deploy a permissionless rollup without relying on a centralized sequencer. Forma, the on-chain NFT network, has already launched on the Astria Stack."

GRVT Launches New 'Embedded' Self-Custodial Wallet Secured by Dfns

July 1 (PROTOCOL VILLAGE EXCLUSIVE): GRVT, a biometric-enabled self-custodial hybrid exchange, has launched a new self-custodial wallet secured by Dfns, a cybersecurity company developing a secure wallet-as-a-service platform, according to the team. "It addresses both the UX and security challenges of embedded wallets. The wallet is embedded into GRVT's on-chain settlement and enables transparent transactions settled on the GRVT smart contract via zkSync Hyperchain. The wallet integrates biometric authentication and Multi-Party Computation (MPC), ensuring seamless user access via fingerprints. Leveraging the WebAuthn protocol introduces familiar Web2 tech platforms to enhance security and user accessibility."

Pudgy Penguins Parent Company Plans Own Layer-2 Blockchain Atop Ethereum

July 1: Igloo Inc., Pudgy Penguins’ parent company, on Monday announced the acquisition of the Frame team. "Frame co-founders and notable blockchain developers Cygaar and Beans will contribute towards building a new Ethereum L2, Abstract, designed to take on the consumer crypto opportunity," according to the team. "Abstract is a secure, ultra-fast, low-cost and developer-friendly L2 powered by zk proofs, to lead the next generation of consumer crypto adoption. It will create a new standard for culture-driven economies by leveraging new distribution rails, empowering builders, and introducing innovative economic mechanisms on-chain."

Nuklai Plans to Migrate 'Smart Data Layer 1' to Testnet by Q4

July 1: Nuklai, describing itself as a layer-1 blockchain for the data economy, introduced its smart data roadmap. According to the team: "The roadmap further elaborates on Nuklai's Smart Data Layer 1, which is currently in the pre-testnet phase, and will migrate to Nuklai HelixVM testnet later in Q4. The testnet will support dual network architecture for smart data and aims to streamline data integration and analysis, opening up new possibilities for data insights and more sophisticated AI training. Other details from the roadmap include emphasis on the Nuklai L1 SDK, which allows front-end applications to interact with the Nuklai blockchain network."

ApeChain Integrates Horizen Labs's ZkVerify, Used to Cut Verification Costs

July 1: Horizen Labs’s zkVerify, a modular blockchain launched in May, is now integrated into ApeChain, a gaming-first L3 based on Arbitrum, according to the team: "ZK proofs in games are costly and intensive. ZkVerify addresses this by offloading proof verification, reducing the blockchain's computational burden, and enabling faster, cheaper transactions for smoother Web3 gaming experiences. Developers on ApeChain can now use zkVerify's technology to optimize transactions, cut verification costs by 90%, which will save millions annually, and create intricate games like card games, fog of war games and prediction market games." (ZEN)

Polkadot App Launches on Ledger, Developed by Zondax Following Community Referendum

July 1: The Polkadot ecosystem has launched a new Polkadot app on Ledger, available on all Ledger devices, according to the team: "This community-driven project, supported by Referendum #62 and developed by Zondax, offers comprehensive offline signing solutions and support for all Polkadot parachains and relay chains. By tackling the critical challenges in offline signing and metadata management, this app sets a new standard for usability across the Polkadot ecosystem."

Chirp Launches Mobile App for iOS, Android

July 1: Decentralized telecommunications network Chirp has launched a mobile app for iOS and Android to provide early access to rewards and airdrops of its CHIRP token, slated for launch in Q3 2024, according to the team: "By completing simple tasks, participants will compete for a share in a 100,000 CHIRP prize pool and earn NFTs that unlock access to CHIRP airdrops. In the future, Chirp plans to upgrade the app to allow users to collect data, earn rewards for sharing it and mine CHIRP tokens directly from their smartphones. The Chirp Tracker App Campaign runs until Aug. 27."

Crypto Losses From Hacks, Rug Pulls Doubled to $572M in Q2: Immunefi Report

June 27: Immunefi, an on-chain crowd-sourced security platform, released its "Crypto Losses in Q2 2024 report," showing a loss of $572 million to hacks and rug pulls in Q2 2024, a 112% increase compared to the same period in 2023. According to the team: "This brings the total losses to over $920 million year-to-date, with May 2024 witnessing the highest monthly losses at $358 million. CeFi was the main target of successful exploits at 70%, compared to DeFi at 30% of the total losses in Q2."

Tezos, Smart-Contract Blockchain of ICO Fame, Reveals 'X' Roadmap Featuring 'Canonical Rollup'

June 27: Developer teams behind the Tezos blockchain unveiled "Tezos X," a set of technological upgrades they say could bring a "huge boost in performance, composability and interoperability." The roadmap, setting out a development plan for the next two years, calls for splitting off transaction execution into a separate "canonical rollup" that would support "atomic transactions across smart contracts written in different programming languages." The main Tezos blockchain would serve as a base layer for consensus and settlement. (XTZ)

REDACTED, Building Web3 'Entertainment Datasphere,' Raises $10M

June 27: REDACTED, building an ecosystem of products to form an "entertainment datasphere," has raised $10 million in funding, co-led by Spartan Group with Saison Capital, Animoca Brands, Polygon Ventures Web3 founders, VCs, angel investors and whales like Dingaling and Grail, according to the team: "REDACTED's data protocol enhances entertainment and gamification products, offering better, more targeted experiences."

SCrypt, Web3 Development Platform, Launches Tool Kit for UTXO Blockchains

June 27: SCrypt, a full-stack Web3/blockchain development platform, has announced the launch of a developer tool kit designed for Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) blockchains. According to the team: "UTXO is the method the Bitcoin protocol uses to track balances as they move between digital wallets. The UTXO model is essential for maintaining the security and integrity of blockchain networks and solves the double-spend problem.... Xiaohui Liu, founder and CEO at sCrypt, said, 'Historically, Web3 applications have been largely built on account-based blockchains like Ethereum and Solana. Ordinals have brought renewed development interest back to Bitcoin and UTXO blockchains.' The sCrypt platform provides comprehensive toolkits such as Software Development Kits (SDK) and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that allow developers to seamlessly integrate UTXO blockchains into their applications. The platform will also integrate a vast ecosystem of JavaScript/TypeScript developers, estimated at 13 million globally."

Rebar Labs Raises $2.9M to Build "MEV-Aware Infrastructure" for Bitcoin

June 27: Rebar Labs, building "MEV-aware infrastructure, products and research" for Bitcoin, has raised $2.9 million in seed funding, according to the team: "Led by 6th Man Ventures, with participation from ParaFi Capital, Arca, Moonrock Capital and UTXO Management, the company aims to address MEV challenges in Bitcoin's expanding ecosystem. As new protocols like BRC-20s, Runes, L2s and rollups emerge, MEV strategies similar to early Ethereum DeFi are appearing on Bitcoin. Rebar Labs is developing solutions to ensure fair value distribution, enable efficient markets and improve user and miner experiences in the Bitcoin ecosystem."

BVNK Launches 'Layer1,' Self-Custody Infrastructure for Stablecoin Payments

June 27: BVNK has launched Layer1, a self-custody infrastructure for stablecoin payments, "enabling fintechs to enter the market swiftly while ensuring data privacy," according to the team: "Layer1 simplifies blockchain payment infrastructure by handling wallet and asset management, reconciliation and third-party integrations. The self-custody infrastructure allows businesses to integrate digital asset payments with under 200 lines of code in weeks."

Chainlink Data Streams Launches on Avalanche, Used by Decentralized Perps Exchange GMX

June 27: Chainlink Data Streams has officially launched on Avalanche, with GMX as a launch partner using Data Streams to help power its decentralized perpetual exchange, according to the team: "By supplying high-frequency market data using robust, decentralized infrastructure, Data Streams enables high-throughput DeFi products to create a seamless user experience comparable to CEXs while providing unprecedented on-chain execution speed and battle-tested security infrastructure." (LINK)

Validator Infrastructure Provider SSV Extends Incentivized Mainnet Program Through December

June 27: Validator infrastructure provider SSV Network has revised its incentivized mainnet program (IMP) after a successful decentralized governance vote, according to the team: "Key updates include extending the program to December 2024, restructuring reward tiers and excluding SAFE multisig wallets from eligibility. The new tiered rewards system offers significant APR boosts to early validators, enhancing incentives for participation. The revisions aim to maximize rewards, encourage validator engagement, and address previous program limitations."

Cobo Launches 'Portal' for Businesses, Featuring 'All-in-One Wallet Platform'

June 27: Cobo, a crypto custody and wallet infrastructure provider, launched "Cobo Portal, a one-stop platform that streamlines the process for businesses to build on a highly scalable wallet infrastructure and manage their digital assets seamlessly," according to the team. Features include: "1. All-in-One Wallet platform with Custodial Wallets, MPC Wallets, Smart Contract Wallets, Exchange Wallets. 2. Advanced Risk control–customizable user roles, on-chain and off-chain transaction policies, governance rules, approval workflows. 3. Seamless Development Environment- documentation & support across all popular programming languages, blockchain developers can quickly integrate Cobo’s WaaS (APIs & SDKs)."

Dfinity Foundation Launches 'UTOPIA' for 'Sensitive Sectors' Like Defense With 'On-Chain Serverless Clouds'

June 27: DFINITY Foundation, a major contributor to the Internet Computer Protocol (ICP) while also working on decentralized AI, has announced the launch of "UTOPIA, aimed at tackling the $10 trillion global cybersecurity problem, through on-chain serverless clouds that offer unprecedented operational resilience and security," according to the team: "This tech is crucial for high-risk, sensitive sectors such as defense, utilities and financial services, ensuring unbreakable security and 100% digital sovereignty."

Interoperability Project Wanchain Launches Token Bridge to Polkadot Relay Chain

June 27: Wanchain, a layer-1 proof-of-stake blockchain focused on interoperability, has launched a token bridge between the Polkadot Relay Chain and the Cardano blockchain network, according to the team: "Despite clamor over the need for a bridge circulating in both communities, Wanchain is the first to successfully connect Polkadot and Cardano, accessible from the Wanchain Bridge Web Portal. Temujin Louie, CEO of Wanchain, said: 'Wanchain believes in the need for interoperability between all networks, not just EVMs. We anticipate that this initial implementation will lead to further developments, such as cross-chain function calls between two non-EVM networks.'" (ADA) (DOT)

Theta Network Expands EdgeCloud Computing Platform

June 27: Theta Network is expanding its EdgeCloud computing platform, according to the team: "The new Elite Booster feature empowers users to earn TFUEL and partner TNT-20 tokens for performing GPU AI tasks, according to the team: "Theta EdgeCloud is the first hybrid computing platform for AI, video and rendering applications. It is powered by Theta Edge Network’s 30,000+ distributed edge nodes and cloud partners, including Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services. The decentralized mesh network offers over 80 PetaFLOPS of always available distributed GPU compute power."

Worldcoin to Partner With Alchemy on Infrastructure for New World Chain

June 27: Worldcoin has announced that it is partnering with Alchemy to provide reliable infrastructure for World Chain, a new blockchain designed for humans, according to the team: "By partnering with Alchemy, World Chain developers will have immediate access to a complete and comprehensive Web3 developer platform including both core and data APIs, indexing solutions and a suite of other tools needed by developers to power their apps. Alchemy will also integrate World ID into its tool set and promote it as a fundamental piece of Web3 infrastructure, giving seamless World ID access to millions of developers worldwide."

Rarimo's Worldcoin Alternative RariMe Goes Live

June 27: Rarimo has unveiled RariMe, a competitor to Worldcoin, and an app that allows users to generate passport zero-knowledge proofs (ZKs) verifying their uniqueness without revealing their identity, the company announced on Thursday. Unlike Worldcoin which uses orbs to scan eyeballs, Rarimo uses smartphones to scan passports and verify its users. Identify frameworks usually have a third party approve credentials but ZKs ensure no personal data is shared while verifying identities.

Superchain Network, Anyone Protocol Form Partnership for Privacy Management

June 27: Superchain Network and Anyone Protocol have joined forces to revolutionize privacy management in decentralized environments, according to the team: "Leveraging Anyone Protocol’s DePIN Network ‘Anon’ and Superchain Network's useable data, this partnership ensures unparalleled security, privacy, speed and data sovereignty. It addresses critical privacy issues in the crypto space, where current data providers expose clients to metadata logging and inference attempts, posing major privacy risks and compromising business confidentiality."

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.