Protocol Village: Humanity Protocol Emerges From Stealth, Backed by Animoca, Polygon

Feb. 20: Humanity Protocol, launched by Human Institute with Animoca Brands and Polygon Labs, emerged from stealth as a new zkEVM layer-2 blockchain for Web3 identity validation. According to a press release, the project relies on palm recognition tech “as a less invasive identity verification alternative to methods like iris scans.” The protocol was built from the chain-development kit Polygon CDK, with zero-knowledge proofs and a “Proof of Humanity” consensus mechanism. The team wrote in a message: “Founded by Terence Kwok and backed by tech leaders, it aims for an inclusive, user-centric Web3 experience. Utilizing Polygon CDK for scalability, it’s designed for diverse applications, ensuring sybil resistance and data ownership.” CoinDesk 20 asset: (MATIC)

COTI Blockchain Unveils ‘Garbled Circuits’ as New Encryption Paradigm to Rival FHE

Feb. 20: COTI, a layer-1 blockchain, unveiled a new encryption paradigm with garbled circuits, according to the team: “This is the first time garbled circuits have been successfully deployed on the blockchain, bringing on-chain privacy with a computation speed up to 1,000 times faster than other encryption systems like fully homomorphic encryption (FHE). Garbled circuit technology is a form of multi-party Computation (MPC), where specialized cryptographic methods allow a group of parties to collaborate, performing a specific computation that requires their private information, but does so without disclosing the input information to any other party.”

QED, the ‘ZK-Native’ Blockchain, Secures $3M in Funding for DeFi on Bitcoin

Feb. 20: QED, describing itself as “the world’s first ZK-native blockchain protocol,” has secured $3 million in funding, to propel DeFi on Bitcoin. According to the team: “Combining the scalability of zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs with the liquidity and security of BTC, QED supports DeFi at scale, real-time programmable NFTs, secure blockchain bridges and trustless e-commerce marketplaces. DApps built on QED can locally prove transactions, providing unlimited computation for a fixed gas fee. This innovation ensures every user’s public key functions as a custom ZK circuit, featuring ‘smart signatures’ read from state, resembling a smart contract.”

DePIN-Focused Blockchain Minima to Put Nodes on Wicrypt’s ‘Smart WiFi’ Routers

Feb. 20: Minima, a layer-1 blockchain focused on decentralised physical infrastructure network (DePIN) solutions, is partnering with Wicrypt, a smart WiFi network, according to the team. The plan is “to democratize and make internet access cheaper for everyone. Wicrypt will embed Minima nodes into WiFi routers, which will then be able to grant network access to Minima users. By running Minima nodes on Wicrypt routers, each router will become an active node, thus decentralizing and making the network’s infrastructure more secure and resilient.”

ELOOP Plans Tokenization Platform on Peaq Blockchain

Feb. 20: ELOOP, a specialist in “Machine RWAs,” running a project that tokenizes vehicles in a car-sharing Tesla fleet, announced plans for building a tokenization platform on the peaq blockchain, according to the team: “The platform will enable companies and communities to get a stake in the value generated by their machines as on-chain tokens. The tokens will generate rewards for their holders based on the real-world value created by the underlying machines: wind turbines, WiFi hotspots, shared e-scooters. The platform has garnered interest from both Web2 and Web3 projects, including Dabba, a connectivity DePIN.”

Starter Partners With Atlanta Blockchain Center, Revamping Crypto Launchpad

Feb. 20: Starter International Holdings has partnered with Atlanta Blockchain Center, revamping its acclaimed crypto launchpad to champion diversity and innovation. According to the team: “The collaboration introduces Base Chain support, aiming to fill the VC industry’s diversity gap. With a history of over 60 IDOs and $45M raised, Starter is set to bridge blockchains and communities, fostering a more inclusive blockchain ecosystem. Discover how this partnership is redefining blockchain fundraising and empowering minority founders at”

ZKX, Decentralized Perps Exchange on Starknet, Launches ‘Pro Trade’

Feb. 20: ZKX, a decentralized perpetual futures exchange operating on Starknet, has “launched their second product, Pro Trade, a trading exchange offering advanced features, gasless transactions and exclusive $ZKX rewards, enhancing the DeFi experience for experienced traders,” according to the team: “This announcement follows Starknet Foundation’s STRK token distribution plan last week. With a shared objective of bringing more people into DeFi, ZKX is contributing by enriching the ecosystem, driving adoption and showcasing Starknet’s capabilities.”

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.

Solana to Use Filecoin to Make Block History More Accessible

Feb. 19: The Solana blockchain has integrated with Filecoin, according to the Filecoin team: “Solana is utilizing Filecoin to make its block history more accessible and usable for infrastructure providers, explorers, indexers, and anyone needing historical access. By leveraging Filecoin’s decentralized storage capabilities, Solana can achieve data redundancy, scalability, and enhanced security while staying true to its decentralized ethos.” CoinDesk 20 assets: (SOL) (FIL)

Trust Wallet Launches ‘SWIFT’ Smart-Contract Wallet With Biconomy

Feb. 19: Trust Wallet, a self-custody wallet, has launched SWIFT, a smart-contract wallet, in collaboration with Biconomy. According to the team, the launch “marks a significant industry shift by redefining Web3 accessibility for 80 million users. SWIFT’s integration of Account Abstraction technology simplifies setup, enhances security with biometric Passkeys, and ensures seamless gas fee management. With features like one-click transactions and support for 200+ tokens, SWIFT sets a new standard for user-centric web3 wallets.” The collaboration “leverages Biconomy’s innovative Paymaster and Bundler infrastructure.”

ZkSync’s ZeroLend to Launch Native Governance Token ZERO

Feb. 19: ZeroLend, the second-largest protocol on zkSync, is set to launch its native governance token ZERO in Q1 2024. This comes on the back of a $3 million seed round. The DeFi protocol has observed 1,000% growth in TVL from $3 million to $40 million in the past few months as users searched for new potential airdrops and interacted with zkSync-based platforms.

AltLayer, Platform for Launching Rollups, Raises $14.4M From Polychain, Hack VC

Feb. 19: AltLayer, an open and decentralized protocol to launch native and restaked rollups with optimistic and ZK stacks, has raised $14.4 million in a strategic fundraising round co-led by Polychain Capital and Hack VC, according to the team: “The company eyes global team expansion amidst the growing number of strategic partnerships and key projects in development, centered around our infrastructure innovation of restaked rollups.”

Y Combinator, Startup Incubator Behind Airbnb, Coinbase, and Stripe, Looks to Invest in Stablecoin Finance

Feb. 19: Y Combinator, the Silicon Valley incubator, has listed stablecoin finance as a category in its new and updated list of areas it would like to deploy funds in, according to its request for startups (RFS) list released last week.

BNB Chain Releases Report on Its History

Feb. 19: BNB Chain released the “BNB Chain & the Web3 Blueprint” brand story report analyzing the “advancements, use cases,and impact across its three community-led blockchains,” according to the team: “It also delves into its history and journey from BSC’s inception in 2017 as Binance Chain, its evolution to Binance Smart Chain and eventual emergence as BNB Smart Chain, one of the most popular layer-1 (L1) ecosystems in the world, averaging in excess of 1M DAU, and opBNB.”

Wormhole Foundation Collaborates With Succinct on ‘ZK Light Client’

Feb. 18: Wormhole Foundation, which supports teams building products for the cross-chain messaging protocol Wormhole, said in a blog post that it’s “collaborating with the team at Succinct to build an Ethereum ZK light client as part of an ongoing effort to further decentralize message verification within the Wormhole platform. Wormhole ZK is being leveraged by developers to minimize trust in the Wormhole platform, improve cross-chain composability and increase network security. Read more about the vision of Wormhole ZK in the recently announced ZK roadmap.”

Justin Sun Tweets Tron DAO’s Roadmap for Bitcoin Layer-2

Feb. 16: TRON DAO, the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) behind the TRON network, with over 210 million user accounts, has unveiled its roadmap for building an innovative Bitcoin layer-2 solution, according to a tweet from Tron founder Justin Sun. “This solution will revolutionize how we think about blockchain interoperability and using stablecoins within the Bitcoin ecosystem,” according to a message from the team. “Let’s make #Bitcoin fun again!” Sun wrote. (TRX)

Silencio, Decentralized Network to Use Smartphones as Noise-Pollution Sensors, Raises $1M

Feb. 16: Silencio, a decentralized network of smartphones working as noise-pollution sensors, has closed a $1M funding round led by Borderless Capital, a leading investor in the DePIN space, according to the team: “Along with Borderless Capital, funding from Moonrock Capital, Master Ventures, and others will be used to expand and enhance its community-driven noise pollution sensor network, improve data integrity for well-being, and support strategic initiatives. This investment marks a significant milestone for Silencio as it sets out to redefine data coverage through the integration of peaq, the layer-1 blockchain for real-world apps.” Silencio selected peaq’s network last year as its layer-1 blockchain.

Subsquid Joins Google BigQuery for Multi-Chain Projects

Feb. 16: Subsquid, a peer-to-peer network to batch query and aggregate data, has joined Google’s BigQuery for multi-chain projects to leverage Subsquid with BigQuery to quickly analyze their usage on different chains and gain insights into fees, operating costs and trends, according to the team: “Subsquid indexing has supported over $11 billion in decentralized applications and L1/L2 value, with 30,000 participants, including tens of thousands of developers, deploying over 40,000 indexers.”

RW3, Blockchain-Focused VC Led by Pete Najarian, Raises $80M

Feb. 15: RW3 Ventures raised $60 million for RW3 Ventures Fund I LP, according to the team: “The fund will target investments in early-stage blockchain and Web3 companies, with an emphasis on teams that seek to utilize blockchain technology to disrupt real-world industries and business models with sizable addressable markets. The round was led by The Raptor Group and Mubadala Capital, the wholly-owned asset management subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company, a global sovereign investor headquartered in Abu Dhabi. RW3 is led by Pete Najarian and Joe Bruzzesi, two well-known figures in the digital asset space.”

Blueprint Finance Emerges With $7.5M of Funding, Concrete Protocol

Feb. 15: Blueprint Finance announced that it’s emerging from stealth with $7.5 million in funding from crypto-native investors including Tribe Capital, Hashed, Portal Ventures, SALT and others – to solve crypto’s liquidation problem. According to the team: Blueprint’s flagship product is the Concrete Protocol, an appchain purpose-built for on-chain debt and credit. Concrete powers higher yields, liquidation protection, and advanced predictions across all of DeFi, starting with money markets.”

QuickNode Adds Support for ZkSync Hyperchains

Feb. 15: QuickNode, a Web3 development platform, now supports zkSync hyperchains,” enhancing its custom chains offering for clients seeking fast and scalable ZK technology,” according to the team: “Hyperchains, powered by ZK Stack, ensure robust data privacy, ideal for enterprise use cases while maintaining compliance. They run parallel to zkSync mainnet, enabling seamless asset bridging and liquidity flow. With QuickNode handling infrastructure, businesses can focus on creating plug-and-play blockchain applications.”

Lava, Cosmos-Based Appchain, Raises $15M, Plans Mainnet Launch

Feb. 15: Lava, an application-specific proof-of-stake blockchain built using Cosmos SDK, has raised a $15 million seed round, led by Tribe, Jump and Hashkey Capital, according to the team: “Mainnet is launching end of Q1/early Q2. Lava’s vision is to build a modular data access layer for Web3, enabling developers to easily build apps on any chain or rollup. Lava has been uniquely designed for technical and non-technical users to contribute to scaling the network and is launching a points system to reward users.”

Injective Adds Mainnet Support for Solana Domain-Name Bridging With Wormhole

Feb. 15: Injective, a blockchain designed for finance built using Cosmos SDK, now supports “an interoperable domain name service (DNS) on mainnet: Solana domain-name bridging with Wormhole (previously available on testnet). The cross-chain integration further converges the Web3 and Web2 experience by letting users leverage single domain names like on Web2 when conducting transactions, and represents a major achievement in ecosystem collaboration, including Bonfida and Wormhole. More details from Injective and Bonfida. Injective’s infrastructure features a unique two-way cross-chain interaction facilitated by Wormhole. This results in a more efficient and streamlined domain service experience when SNS transactions are initiated. Adoption is simple: users can purchase .sol domains plus use both .sol and .inj domains across Injective dApps, further expanding the cross-chain domain experience.” (INJ)

Helika, Data Analytics Provider for Web3 Gaming, Raises $8M From Pantera, Animoca, Diagram, Sfermion

Feb. 15: Helika, a data analytics and infrastructure provider for traditional and Web3 gaming with customers like Animoca Brands and Yuga Labs, is announcing the completion of an $8 million Series A fundraising from Pantera, Animoca, Diagram and Sfermion. According to the team: “This funding will help Helika advance its AI-powered suite of products and services, which currently aggregates data across multiple chains, social media platforms, and games and synthesizes that data into actionable insights for gaming studios to leverage in user acquisition, retention, and engagement to ultimately drive profits.”