Haun Ventures Leads First Round of $7.4M from Sovereign Labs to Help Scale Blockchains

Haun Ventures Leads First Round of .4M from Sovereign Labs to Help Scale Blockchains

Sovereign Labs has raised $7.4 million in seed funding led by Haun Ventures, co-founders Preston Evans and Cem Özer told TechCrunch.

The startup is building an “open, connected rollup ecosystem” with a software development kit (SDK) to provide a framework for secure and interoperable zero-knowledge rollups (ZK rollups).

“The goal of Sovereign has always been scaling [blockchains] easily,” Özer said. “For people who have been in this space for more than four years, it is pretty clear that ZK rollups and rollups are the way to scale blockchain to the masses.”

A roll-up is a blockchain that pulls security from another blockchain, so it’s a way to add functionality to an existing chain without compromising security, Evans said. Rollups can be used to support various use cases such as tokens, NFTs, smart contracts, etc., but they are cheaper to run because they relieve the burden of transactions.

The money will be used to build its SDK and hire protocol engineers and researchers with experience in blockchain and its frameworks, Özer said. The SDK aims to help developers of Rust (and eventually C++) use ZK technology on any blockchain without having to be experts in cryptography, the two co-founders said.

The largest ZK rollup blockchains in existence today include Polygon, zkSync, and StarkWare’s StarkNet platform, which aim to increase scalability and security for off-chain developers through faster speeds and lower costs before combining and join the Ethereum. Ethereum-focused ZK Rollup projects such as dYdX, Sorare, and Immutable are also working to scale up the space and improve user experiences in other areas such as decentralized exchanges, dApps, and games.

“Without scaling, current blockchain systems are useless,” said Özer. “Until an application matches the product market and there is a demand for it, rates skyrocket and it becomes unusable. […] Applications must be scalable.”

Most ZK Rollup solutions are standalone products, developed by and for the teams that work with them, Özer said. Sovereign Labs “doesn’t build itself,” but wants to create frameworks for others, he added. “We want to make this technology available to everyone, so that they can easily work with it and get creative with it. [their own] ecosystems”.

The team will work to develop different monetization strategies, but the SDK framework will be open source, free, and “we always will be,” Evans noted.

In the near term, the co-founders hope that roll-ups will be virtually inaccessible until frameworks like their SDK are developed. “Over time, SDK products will become affordable,” said Özer. “We expect an explosion of ZK stacks and that most developers will benefit.”

Source: La Neta Neta

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