Celestia Labs hits unicorn status in latest bet on modular blockchains

Quick Take

  • Celestia Labs netted $55 million across two quietly closed fundraises this year.
  • The latest capital injection values the startup at $1 billion, according to a person familiar with the deal.

Celestia Labs, a startup that hopes to build better blockchain infrastructure with a modular approach, has announced $55 million in fundraising.

Bain Capital Crypto, the $560 million fund launched in March, and Polychain led the fundraising, according to a statement today. Placeholder, Galaxy Digital, Delphi Digital, Blockchain Capital, NFX, Protocol Labs, Figment, Maven 11, Spartan Group, FTX Ventures and Jump Crypto also participated — along with angel investors including Balaji Srinivasan, Eric Wall and Jutta Steiner.

The cash came through two quietly conducted rounds — a Series A and B — that closed earlier this year, according to a person familiar with the deals. The more-recent capital injection valued Celestia at $1 billion, granting it unicorn status, the person said.

Celestia has built a “modular blockchain architecture” to compete with established players such as Ethereum, which it describes as “monolithic” in design. Celestia’s trick is to separate the consensus mechanism — which is how blockchain participants agree that transactions have taken place — from execution.

The idea, as laid out in its announcement, is that any developer will be able to use Celestia’s technology to roll out a decentralized blockchain without having to concern themselves with setting up a consensus network from scratch.

“For the past decade, crypto has been bottlenecked by an endless loop of new monolithic L1 smart contract platforms, each racing to the bottom to sacrifice decentralization and security to provide cheaper transaction fees,” said Mustafa Al-Bassam, co-founder at Celestia Labs, in the statement. “We envision a blockchain ecosystem with modular data availability layers and execution engines that all integrate together.”

A modular movement

In September, Fuel Labs announced an $80 million raise for its modular execution layer — a round led by Blockchain Capital and Stratos Technologies. The startup effectively focuses on the flip side of the coin to Celestia, and the pair have close ties. Ekram Ahmed, head of communications at Celestia, is a strategic advisor to Fuel.  

Celestia last announced a fundraise in March 2021, when it secured $1.5 million in seed capital from backers including Binance Labs, Maven 11 and KR1. The company launched its testnet, named Mamaki, in May of this year.

It named Eclipse, Constellation and dYmension as examples of projects that are currently using Celestia as their data availability layer. Alex Evans, a partner at Bain Capital Crypto, said in a statement that modular blockchains are “unlocking rapid experimentation” and called the pace of development in the Celestia community “breathtaking.” 


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