Polyhedra Network, a web3 infrastructure solutions provider leveraging zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) technology, announced that it has raised $10 million in a strategic funding round co-led by Binance Labs and Polychain Capital, and supported by Animoca and dao5.
Polyhedra Network raises $10 million
With a team of top engineers, developers, and researchers from UC Berkeley, Tsinghua University, and Stanford University, Polyhedra Network is building a full-stack suite of ZKP-based web3 solutions focusing on interoperability, scalability, and privacy.
With these funds, Polyhedra Network will invest in ecosystem growth initiatives, recruiting additional engineering talent, and cutting-edge ZKP protocol research.
“Polyhedra is pushing boundaries on some of the most innovative ZK infrastructure within web3. The well-oiled architecture facilitates cross-chain operations that will interconnect blockchain ecosystems to build the next generation of financial technology.”
Luke Pearson, Polychain Capital.
To date, Polyhedra Network has developed and deployed products that are next-generation zkSNARK protocols such as zkBridge and zkDID.
A zkBridge supports cross-chain asset and data interoperability between various web2 and web3 systems by using deVirgo, a novel distributed proof system.
Meanwhile, a zkDID (decentralized identity) is a solution for verifying credentials without compromising user privacy by advanced zero-knowledge proofs. In addition, there’s a paraPlonk-based scalability solution to accelerate ZK-rollups.
Why zero-knowledge proof matters
To attract more users, web3 needs to introduce improvements over the previous version of the internet. In this case, ZKP serves as a cryptographic tool helping two different parties in exchanging information without revealing anything.
“Zero-knowledge proofs are the key technology that will revolutionize Web3 infrastructure. We’re thrilled to have the support of top VCs and builders in the space, who believe in our vision to develop ZKP-enabled solutions for Web3 interoperability and scalability.”
James Zhang, co-founder of Polyhedra Network.
Meanwhile, ZK-Snarks is the code for verifying proof that operates autonomously, without the need for human intervention. As there is no way to remove passwords from the equation, ZKP is important for web3 and its future.
Due to the limitations of the methods CEXes are using for Proof-of-Reserve (PoR), CEXes leverage zk-SNARKS is suggested that can provide more robust proof of solvency. Last year, Binance announced an upgrade to its PoR system to include zk-SNARKS to verify its reserves more transparently and securely.
In the coming months, Polyhedra Network will integrate its zkBridge and zkDID infrastructure with additional blockchain networks, and launch APIs and SDKs to provide builders with the tools for streamlined development and collaboration.
Furthermore, it will also continue to refine its paraPlonk protocol to attract developers seeking a highly efficient and distributed zk-rollup solution.
After years of crippling sanctions, Russia is planning to introduce its own central bank digital currency (CBDC), which may be ready for testing as soon as April.
Russian Central Bank first deputy governor Olga Skorobogatova told the media that the bank plans to begin testing its CBDC on April 1, 2023. While the CBDC would be aimed at universal use in the nation, it will begin limited testing to promote a reliable system.
“We plan to launch the digital ruble project on April 1, with transactions involving individual transfers as well as payments in trade and service enterprises.”
Olga Skorobogatova, Russian Central Bank first deputy governor.
Despite the fact that the Russian CBDC would have retail-level applications, it will be tested by banks and commercial interests in the first phase. Later, smaller economic entities would be able to participate in the testing process.
Russia follows China into CBDCs
The Chinese were the first major economy to test a CDBC, called the digital yuan. While testing of the digital yuan is ongoing, it has yet to be used as a replacement for the legacy Chinese currency. While China has access to global capital markets, Russia has been under Western sanctions for many years.
With the advent of a Russian CBDC, global transfers may be easier for the nation. The USA is able to effectively control access to the SWIFT system, which forced Russia to create its own transfer platform, although it isn’t used by U.S. allies, due to the threat of sanctions.
Russia is a major producer of oil and gas, as well as minerals.
As the sanctions on the nation limited its potential export markets, inflation in a number of vital goods, such as energy, was exacerbated. CBDCs may help to address these kinds of trade bottlenecks, as the payment side of energy transactions is more complex than delivery in many cases.
Bitcoin skeptic Peter Schiff returned in an interview with Anthony Pompliano to say that bitcoin has no value, among other things.
In a recent interview with Anthony Pompliano, investment manager Peter Schiff told the interviewer and audience that bitcoin has no value. He used the idea that there is no difference in utility between one bitcoin and many bitcoins, as it has no physical presence.
A bitcoin or any number of bitcoins can’t be used for anything in physical reality, and according to Schiff, this means they lack value.
In the context of his example, Schiff’s point is valid. As bitcoins have no physical nature, there is no difference in physical utility between one satoshi, one bitcoin, and all the bitcoins in existence. A house can’t be built of bitcoins any more than it could be made from fiat money on deposit in a bank.
Money, as such, in the modern world, is digital. The key difference is that bitcoin is a decentralized digital system, and the legacy digital financial system is controlled by central banks.
Schiff went on to say that there are dark economic times ahead, and many bitcoin holders will need to sell their bitcoins to buy food. The investment manager thinks that people will lose their jobs, and there will be problems with inflation, especially in consumer staples, like food.
Is modern money under pressure?
The modern monetary system goes back to 1971 when then U.S. Nixon president took the U.S. off the post-WW2 de-facto gold standard, many called the Bretton Woods system.
Schiff thinks that gold is a good alternative to both fiat currency, and cryptos, with bitcoin used as the example of cryptos. He also speculates that gold will be attractive in the coming economic downturn, as it has been used as money for most of human history, and has physical value, in the way he defines it.
Gold is employed extensively in electronics, is also still used as a means of exchange, and for jewelry as well.
Gold prices have been rising since around the year 2000, after Gordon Brown, who was the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time, sold a large amount of gold from the U.K. national gold reserves. This period marked the bottom of the bear market that began in 1980, at the peak of a gold frenzy that began in 1971.
Fiat currency has lost purchasing power against many things over the past decade, especially after global governments created large stimulus programs in response to the covid19 pandemic. Schiff thinks that the trends that began in 2020 have not run their course, and there is more inflation, and economic weakness coming.
Bitcoin has competition
Another problem for bitcoin, according to Schiff, is that there are many decentralized tokens in the world today. Unlike the early days of bitcoin, blockchains like Ethereum offer many features that bitcoin can’t.
According to Schiff, the huge number of tokens, and also their lack of value, as he defines, it, will be a big problem for both bitcoin, and the wider crypto space as the world falls into a deep economic recession.
Citadel Securities disclosed that it owns 5.5% of Silvergate bank, which has been negatively impacted by the crypto downturn.
The announcement of the interest by Citadel Securities helped Silvergate stock to rise in New York trading. While the stock was up by at least 5% in trade on Feb. 14, it has been under pressure since FTX collapsed in 2022.
Citadel Securities was founded by Kenneth C. Griffin, and is a market maker in U.S. financial markets. It remains an influential financial firm in the U.S.
Bottom picking by big investors
Citadel Securities isn’t alone in looking for distressed crypto assets. Cathie Wood’s ARK has been scooping up crypto-linked assets, like shares of Coinbase. While the crypto winter bites asset prices in the crypto space, large investors see value, based on their purchases.
Cathie Wood also sees value in some of the major tokens. In recent interviews, Wood expands on why public blockchains, like ethereum, are likely to rise in value over the coming years. According to Wood, blockchain assets are attractive, and by 2030, bitcoin could be worth as much as $1.4 million.
Does deflation matter?
One of the factors that Wood sees as attractive is the deflationary nature of ethereum. In a post-merge market, the amount of ethereum is falling while the volume of fiat currency is rising. Ethereum provides value to it users and can be used for numerous digital applications.
While a basic economic relationship like supply and demand falls short in many applications, in the case of ethereum, Wood sees it driving ETH prices much higher.
Another factor to consider is faith in fiat currency, as a lack of faith in central bank issues money could act as a tailwind for cryptos in nations where the population loses faith in fiat currency.
In countries like Argentina and Venezuela, the value of cryptos has risen substantially more than in developed nations, as the local currency is seen as less desirable. In addition, cryptos allow people from abroad to remit funds with cryptos, and avoid any capital controls that exist.
On April 21, 2003, the New York Times ran an article about Wall St. analyst coverage of dot-com stocks. At the time, spirits in the world of tech investment were low.
“With a handful of exceptions like AOL Time Warner, eBay and Amazon.com, online companies were shunned by investment analysts after the bottom fell out of the dot-com market in 2000. And who could blame them? Investors hardly needed analysts to tell them that Internet companies were circling the drain.”
Bob Tedeschi, New York Times.
Nine days later, on April 30, 2003, shares in Apple Computer closed at $0.25 per share. Times in the tech world were dark, and the deals to be had were once-in-a-lifetime.
At the time of writing, shares of AAPL are trading at $151.41 per share.
In addition, according to the company, “The stock split on a 4-for-1 basis on August 28, 2020, a 7-for-1 basis on June 9, 2014, and split on a 2-for-1 basis on February 28, 2005.”
Today, the mood in crypto is dour, and institutional investors like Citadel Securities and ARK are stepping in to buy up companies and assets for pennies of what they traded for just a few months ago.