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Foundation Behind Polkadot Reveals 10M DOT ($74.5M) Prize Pool After Wood Unveils JAM

April 22: Web3 Foundation (W3F), the foundation behind the Polkadot ecosystem, has announced a 10 million DOT ($74.5 million) prize pool, “to foster diversity within the development of JAM, a protocol combining elements of both Polkadot and Ethereum,” according to the team: “Through the JAM Implementer’s Prize, W3F are seeking developers to diversify and strengthen network resilience. One of the key features of JAM is the guaranteed seamless compatibility for developers. W3F’s mission is to nurture cutting-edge applications for decentralized web software protocols.” JAM stands for “Join-Accumulate Machine,” and it provides a “global singleton permissionless object environment, much like the smart-contract environment pioneered by Ethereum, paired with secure sideband computation parallelized over a scalable node network,” according to the graypaper by Polkadot founder Gavin Wood, who was also a co-founder of Ethereum.

Gavin Wood made a presentation on JAM at Token 2049 in Dubai last week. (@mattunchi via Polkadot)
Gavin Wood made a presentation on JAM at Token 2049 in Dubai last week. (@mattunchi via Polkadot)

ORA’s ‘On-Chain AI Oracle’ Plans Expansion to Polygon PoS In Addition to Ethereum

April 19: ORA’s OAO (stands for On-chain AI Oracle), describing itself as “the world’s first AI oracle,” is gearing up to launch on Polygon’s PoS network, according to the team: “OAO was called more than 10,000 times in under a month on Ethereum’s Sepolia testnet. In March, OAO was launched on Ethereum mainnet. Now, developers, protocols and dApps will be able to verify and use LLM inferences on Polygon. The OAO (Onchain AI Oracle) launch onto Polygon is critical for scalability, speed and convenience. Developers and users will be able to cheaply and efficiently access verifiable inference data on-chain.”

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.

Telos to Work With R&D Firm Ponos on Hardware-Accelerated Ethereum ZkEVM

April 19: Telos Foundation, which supports the Telos blockchain, said it will work with Ponos Technology, a zero-knowledge-proof research and development firm, to develop an end-to-end optimized, hardware-accelerated Ethereum layer 2 network featuring SNARKtor, the Telos-developed decentralized recursive proof aggregator. According to the team: “Telos will also work with several other new partners during the L2’s development cycle, including Digital M.O.B. (Ethereum dev team), ATKA (Web3 incubator) and Cometh (dev team led by ETH France President Jerome De Tychey).”

Runes DEX Secures $2 Million in Seed Investment to Pioneer AMM on Bitcoin

April 19: Runes DEX, an automated market maker (AMM) platform for runes on Bitcoin, announced the successful closure of its $2 million seed investment round. According to a press release: “This crucial funding milestone has garnered support from prominent blockchain investors including Kenetic Capital, Mechanism Capital, Auros Ventures, Future Fund and Boosty Labs. Notable industry pioneers backing this round are Pascal Gauthier, CEO of Ledger; 0xMaki, founder of SushiSwap; and AOI, founder of”

Safe, for ‘Smart Accounts,’ Completes Acquisition of Crypto Business Wallet Multis

April 18: Safe, a provider of blockchain smart accounts, has “welcomed the senior leadership team of Multis to the Safe Ecosystem Foundation and completed the strategic acquisition of the Multis source code,” according to the team: “Thibaut Sahaghian, former CEO of Multis, will take on the role of network abstraction lead within the Safe ecosystem. Together, the Safe and former Multis team will collaborate to solve the complexities of cross-chain interaction through network abstraction, with the goal of enabling users to manage assets across diverse blockchain networks effortlessly.” Multis offers a crypto business wallet, according to its website.

Thibaut Sahaghian, network abstraction lead, Safe (Safe)
Thibaut Sahaghian, network abstraction lead, Safe (Safe)

Aethir, Decentralized Network for GPU Resources, Introduces ‘Edge’ Device Powered by Qualcomm

April 18: Aethir, a leader in decentralized cloud computing, introduced the Aethir Edge device powered by Qualcomm, “a significant leap in edge computing with a decentralized infrastructure that enhances reliability by distributing capacity across peer nodes,” according to a message from the team. “Aethir Edge is the hardware component of the Aethir DePIN stack, and it is, in all aspects, a hardware device built to power the next generation of GPU cloud computing. Through Aethir Edge, we enable everyone to join Aethir’s network as a service provider who wishes to contribute their underutilized broadband, IP addresses, bandwidth, or GPU computing resources to our DePIN in exchange for 23% of $ATH token rewards,” according to a blog post published Thursday.

Schematic illustrating Aethir Network architecture, from the project documentation (Aethir)
Schematic illustrating Aethir Network architecture, from the project documentation (Aethir)

Nodle, Smartphone-Based DePIN, Launches on ZkSync Era

April 18: Nodle (NODL), a smartphone-based DePIN powering applications for authenticating media content, locating assets or proving location, announced it will be launching on zkSync Era, an Ethereum layer-2 network built around zero-knowledge (ZK) technology. According to the team: “The first initiative of Nodle’s DePIN launching on zkSync will be the deployment of its new Click camera app, the world’s first Digital Trust Network. This marks a significant advancement for Nodle by using blockchain technology for media authentication to fight misinformation leveraging the scalability and efficiency of zkSync.” Launched in 2017, Nodle was originally based on the Stellar blockchain and later moved to Polkadot.

Crypto Funding Deals in 1Q Surpassed $2B for First Time in a Year: FundStrat

April 18: Tom Couture, vice president of crypto strategy at the analysis firm FundStrat, writes in a quarterly report out Thursday: “The crypto industry saw over $2.3 billion in private funding across 367 deals, marking a significant increase in activity and the first time total funding has surpassed $2 billion since Q2 of 2023. Infrastructure remained the most popular investment category, attracting nearly $1.1 billion across 141 deals, reflecting ongoing industry efforts to enhance scalability and user experience.”

After a dip, crypto industry private funding appears to be turning back up. (FundStrat)
After a dip, crypto industry private funding appears to be turning back up. (FundStrat)

Ordz Games Says ‘BitBoy One’ Sold Out First 1K Units in 2 Minutes

April 18: Ordz Games said its new GameFi-meets-DePIN handheld device, “BitBoy One,” sold out its first 1,000 units in two minutes during a public sale, after launching in Paris, Hong Kong and Dubai. The device was featured in Protocol Village on April 7.

The new BitBoy One device from Ordz Games

ARPA’s On-Chain Random Number Generator, Randcast, Launches on Lattice’s Redstone Testnet

April 18: ARPA Network, a secure computation network for blockchain-adapted cryptography, said its Randcast, an on-chain verifiable random number generator, has launched on the testnet for Redstone, an optimistic rollup layer-2 framework crafted by the Ethereum-focused engineering company Lattice, built on the OP Stack, according to the team: “The integration of Randcast with Redstone pushes more seamless and enriched on-chain gaming experiences. Together, this streamlines the developer experience for those crafting ambitious applications, games and worlds. Randcast’s dev-friendly Smart Contract SDK allows for the effortless integration of randomness, so with the Redstone integration it pushes the limits of what is possible to build on the EVM.”

Nym Joins Liquid Federation to Scale Bitcoin L2 Ecosystem, Deepen Partnership With Blockstream

April 18: Nym Technologies, a blockchain privacy infrastructure project, has joined the Liquid Federation to help secure and scale the Bitcoin layer-2 ecosystem to meet global demand, according to the team: “This is the first step in a deeper partnership between Nym, the Liquid Federation and Blockstream. The next step will be the integration of Liquid on the Nym mixnet, extending Liquid’s default confidentiality to also protect the patterns of transactions in transit, and enabling strong network level privacy to Bitcoin users who are using layer-2 protocols to stack sats to save on fees and for greater confidentiality.”

Matter Labs, Developer Behind ZkSync, Hires Former Coinbase Exec Murugesan as President

April 18: Matter Labs, the main developer behind the Ethereum rollup zkSync, hired Nana Murugesan, former vice president for business development and international at Coinbase, as president. At Coinbase, “he oversaw global business development and partnerships, international operations, and asset listings,” according to a press release. “Prior to his time at Coinbase, he served as Managing Director at Snap Inc., where he led Snapchat’s global expansion and strategic partnerships.”

Nana Murugesan (Matter Labs)
Nana Murugesan (Matter Labs)

Nibiru Blockchain Launches $15M Program ‘to Prevent a Potential Talent Drain’

April 18: Nibiru, a new blockchain backed by Tribe Capital and led by ex-Google, IBM, and JP Morgan execs, is “launching a $15M program, aiming to prevent a potential talent drain amid the crypto market recovery. The initiative, includes a $5M allocation for Asia, will offer financial incentives and funding to developers driving the adoption of a new L1. The goal is to keep talent building in the Web3 space as the industry struggles to retain skilled developers tempted by opportunities in other sectors.”

Aptos Strikes DeFi Partnership With Microsoft, Brevan Howard, SK Telecom

April 18: Aptos Labs, the developers behind the Aptos layer-1 blockchain, said it is collaborating with Microsoft, Brevan Howard and South Korean wireless telecommunications operator SK Telecom to offer institutions a gateway into decentralized finance. The partnership will offer Aptos Ascend, a suite of end-to-end institutional solutions like regulatory requirement help, tools to maintain account and transaction privacy and embedded features for know-your-customer (KYC) checks. (APT) Infrastructure to Power Asia-Focused Digital-Asset Platform Matrixport’s Staking Product

April 18:, a provider of non-custodial staking services for professional investors, introduced “restaking with DVT on staking infrastructure SSV Network, recently surpassing 500,000 ETH staked. The new offering leverages EigenLayer technology to provide institutional clients a secure, decentralized staking option. With an APR exceeding 5.6%, it taps into Ethereum and layer-2 chains, endorsed by flagship client crypto financial services platform Matrixport.”

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