AltLayer, an Ethereum scaling startup that will offer application-specific chains, has raised $7.2 million in a seed funding round.
Sharing the news exclusively with The Block on Friday, AltLayer said Polychain Capital, Jump Crypto and Breyer Capital co-led the round. Other investors in the round included Gavin Wood, Ethereum co-founder and Polkadot founder; Balaji Srinivasan, a former Coinbase CTO and a former a16z general partner; Sean Neville, co-founder of Circle; and Kain Warwick and Jordan Momtazi, co-founders of Synthetix and Bodhi Ventures.
AltLayer is being built by Yaoqi Jia, who previously co-founded the Zilliqa blockchain and served its CTO. AltLayer's unique selling point is application-specific chains, Jia told The Block.
"Other scaling networks are general purpose in the sense that more than one decentralized application (dapp) can be launched on it," said Jia. "AltLayer will provide application-specific chains."
Application-specific chains are customized blockchains for single applications. Instead of building on blockchains like Ethereum, app developers build their own blockchain from the ground up through platforms like AltLayer.
Application-specific chains have increased in popularity in recent months. Earlier this year, Binance said its blockchain BNB Chain plans to introduce such sidechains to cut costs and increase the speed of transactions for resource-intense applications such as gaming.
AltLayer's initial focus will also be the gaming, non-fungible token (NFT) and the metaverse sector, said Jia. AltLayer can be seen as a system of individual optimistic rollups that derive security from an underlying Layer 1 (e.g., Ethereum) or Layer 2 networks (e.g., Arbitrum and Optimism), with each rollup tailored to a specific application, he added.
With fresh capital in hand, AltLayer plans to expand its current team of about 10 to around 25 in the near future and ship its platform later this year, said Jia.
AltLayer started building the platform last December. It started raising the seed round in April and closed it in early May before the recent market downturn, said Jia. The round was raised via a simple agreement for future tokens (SAFT) sale, he added.
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