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NEAR Foundation and Polygon Labs join forces to build Zero-Knowledge Solution for WASM Chains

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Leading ZK researchers and WASM experts to develop a zero-knowledge prover for WASM blockchains available via Polygon CDK

  • The zkWASM collaboration leverages Polygon Labs’ groundbreaking zero-knowledge R&D with NEAR Foundation’s WASM expertise, positioning this ZK solution at the forefront of the Web3 market
  • zkWASM will eventually be one of three provers available for developers who choose to build with Polygon Chain Development Kit (CDK), an open source codebase for launching ZK-powered L2 chains for Ethereum
  • NEAR Foundation becomes a core contributor to Polygon CDK
  • This pioneering research initiative will pave the way for greater trustless interoperability across Web3, including between NEAR and the Ethereum ecosystem

LISBON, Portugal, Nov. 8, 2023 /PRNewswire/ —NEAR Foundation, the non-profit that supports the growth and development of the NEAR ecosystem, and Polygon Labs, a software development company for leading Ethereum Layer 2 scaling architecture, announce a strategic collaboration to build zkWASM, a zero-knowledge (ZK) prover for WASM blockchains. With Polygon Labs’ authority in ZK scaling technology and NEAR’s deep WASM runtime expertise, the zkWASM prover is positioned to lead the market among other wasm provers when it launches next year. Both teams shared the announcement today at the NEAR ecosystem’s annual flagship conference, NEARCON, in Lisbon.

This announcement brings together two leading protocol teams to build a more secure, interoperable Web3 ecosystem. A zkWASM prover positions NEAR Protocol closer to Ethereum and enables WASM chains to tap into Ethereum liquidity. In the future, through an in-development interoperability layer, chains will also be able to access shared liquidity in a unified ecosystem of CDK-deployed chains, including alternative layer-1s, EVM layer-2s, and WASM chains. Using a zkWASM prover, WASM chains will be able to settle transactions efficiently and cost-effectively with maximum security guarantees, unlocking the full potential of zero-knowledge for the multichain future of Web3.

“We are proud to collaborate with NEAR on this exciting research initiative to further drive the development and adoption of ZK technology. The zkWASM prover maximizes developer customizability, which means projects will be able to select from a number of provers when building with CDK, whether that’s launching or migrating an EVM chain, or building a WASM chain for closer Ethereum alignment and access to liquidity,” said Sandeep Nailwal, co-founder of Polygon.

A zkWASM prover will be an upgrade for NEAR validators–instead of the hard work of validating a shard, validators will instead be able to generate a single zero-knowledge proof, greatly simplifying validator requirements. This means better scalability and increased decentralization for the NEAR Protocol.

“We are very excited to work with Polygon Labs to bring all the benefits of zero-knowledge proofs not just to NEAR but all of Web3,” said Illia Polosukhin, co-founder of NEAR Protocol. “NEAR is integrating more with Ethereum by innovating in new research frontiers, and the shared expertise of NEAR and Polygon will expand the ZK landscape and defragment liquidity across chains. Creating and using the zkWASM prover will also improve the scalability and decentralization of the NEAR L1.”

The zkWASM prover is now in active development and is expected to launch next year.

About NEAR Foundation:

NEAR foundation is a Switzerland-based nonprofit foundation whose mission is to enable community driven innovation to benefit people around the world. One of its core areas of focus is the NEAR ecosystem, which includes a fully operational decentralized Blockchain-based platform for building decentralized applications.

NF carries out its mission, primarily through the allocation of support and resources to other nodes in the near ecosystem, rather than via direct intervention or operations.

Unlike many organizations of its type, NF’s ultimate goal is to minimize its own scope and footprint by continuing to divide functions and resources to the ecosystem; and support the development of decentralized infrastructure necessary for those ecosystem functions to operate in a self-sufficient manner. For more information visit the website.

About Polygon Labs:

Polygon Labs develops Ethereum scaling solutions for Polygon protocols. Polygon Labs engages with other ecosystem developers to help make available scalable, affordable, secure and sustainable blockchain infrastructure for web3. Polygon Labs has initially developed a growing suite of protocols for developers to gain easy access to major scaling solutions, including layer 2s (zero-knowledge rollups and optimistic rollups), sidechains, hybrid chains, app-specific chains, enterprise chains, and data availability protocols. Scaling solutions that Polygon Labs initially developed have seen widespread adoption with tens of thousands of decentralized apps, unique addresses exceeding 220.8 million, over 1.18 million smart contracts created and 2.48 billion total transactions processed since inception. The existing Polygon network is home for some of the biggest web3 projects, such as Aave, Uniswap, and OpenSea, and well-known enterprises, including Robinhood, Stripe and Adobe. Polygon Labs is carbon neutral with the goal of leading web3 in becoming carbon negative.

If you’re an Ethereum Developer, you’re already a Polygon developer! Leverage Polygon’s fast and secure transactions for dApps you develop, get started here.

Website | Twitter | Developer Twitter | Telegram | LinkedIn | Reddit | Discord | Instagram | Facebook

CONTACT:
Georgia Hanias
[email protected] 

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2267120/polygon_social.jpg

Logo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/2039011/NEAR_logo_Logo.jpg

Cision View original content:https://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/near-foundation-and-polygon-labs-join-forces-to-build-zero-knowledge-solution-for-wasm-chains-301978368.html

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Web3 Startups Raise Nearly $1.9B in Q1 2024 Despite Overall Downtrend in Crypto VC Interest

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Venture capital funding for cryptocurrency and blockchain projects has seen a notable resurgence in the first quarter of 2024, marking its first quarterly rise since 2021. Crunchbase data released today indicates that Web3 startups secured nearly $1.9 billion in funding across 346 deals during this period. This represents a substantial 58% increase from the previous quarter, offering a glimmer of hope amidst the ongoing downward trend in overall crypto VC interest.

The recent surge in funding can be attributed to investors adopting a more long-term perspective on Web3, as opposed to the hype-driven “tourist investors” predominant in recent years. Chris Metinko, the author of the report, notes that investors are shifting their focus to the AI sector, indicating a change in investment strategy. There is a growing interest in supporting the foundational infrastructure of the decentralized internet, rather than solely concentrating on crypto wallets and lending platforms, which attracted significant investments during the peak period of 2021 to 2022.

While large funding rounds were relatively uncommon in Q1, several notable investments stood out. Exohood Labs, a company integrating AI, quantum computing, and blockchain, secured a remarkable $112 million seed round at a valuation of $1.4 billion. EigenLabs, an Ether token “restaking” platform, raised $100 million in a Series B round led by a16z crypto. Additionally, Freechat, a decentralized social network leveraging blockchain technology, secured $80 million in a Series A round. These investments, among others, contributed to the increase in valuations and the emergence of four new Web3 unicorns in Q1.

Despite the recent progress, the future trajectory of Web3 remains uncertain. Metinko suggests that the next few quarters will be pivotal in determining the industry’s direction. While investors anticipate a rebound in investment as the decentralized internet evolves, it may take another year for venture capital activity to stabilize after the exuberance of 2021. Factors such as the approval of U.S. spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds and the upcoming Bitcoin halving could also influence the market, given the rising prices of Bitcoin and Ether.

A noteworthy example of significant funding in the Web3 space is Monad Labs’ recent successful funding round, which secured $225 million led by Paradigm. Monad Labs is a layer-1 blockchain compatible with Ethereum, offering faster transaction processing. This funding round harkens back to the golden era of crypto funding in 2021-2022, when L1 solutions attracted substantial investments.

Earlier this year, Balance, a digital asset custodian based in Canada, announced that it had once again reached $2 billion in assets under custody (AUC) amidst the recent market recovery. Similarly, Korea Digital Asset (KODA), the largest institutional crypto custody service in South Korea, has experienced remarkable growth in crypto assets under its custody, expanding by nearly 248% in the second half of 2023.

Analysts at Bernstein Research project that crypto funds could reach an impressive $500 billion to $650 billion within the next five years, representing a significant leap from the current valuation of approximately $50 billion. This forecast underscores the growing optimism and potential for substantial growth within the crypto industry in the coming years.

Source: cryptonews.com

The post Web3 Startups Raise Nearly $1.9B in Q1 2024 Despite Overall Downtrend in Crypto VC Interest appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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ASIC cracks down on blockchain mining firms

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Three blockchain mining companies – NGS Crypto, NGS Digital, and NGS Group – along with their directors, Brett Mendham, Ryan Brown, and Mark Ten Caten, are facing legal action from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for allegedly operating without a license, in violation of Australia’s Corporations Act. ASIC initiated legal proceedings against these entities on April 9, citing concerns about their non-compliance with financial regulations and their solicitation of Australian investors.

According to ASIC, the NGS companies promoted blockchain mining packages with fixed-rate returns to Australian investors, encouraging the transfer of funds from regulated superannuation funds to self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) for conversion into cryptocurrency. Approximately 450 Australians invested a total of around USD 41 million in these packages, raising concerns about potential financial losses.

The legal action filed by ASIC alleges that the companies violated section 911A of the Corporations Act, which prohibits companies from providing financial services without a valid Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). ASIC is seeking interim and final court orders to prohibit the NGS companies from offering financial services in Australia without an AFSL.

ASIC Chair Joe Longo emphasized the importance of investors carefully considering the risks before investing in crypto-related products through their SMSFs. Longo stated that ASIC’s actions send a message to the crypto industry about the regulator’s commitment to ensuring compliance with regulations and protecting consumers.

In a separate development, the Federal Court appointed receivers for the digital currency assets associated with the NGS companies and their directors to safeguard these assets amid concerns about the risk of dissipation. Mendham was also issued a travel restriction order, preventing him from leaving Australia.

While a court date for the proceedings has not been set, ASIC’s investigation is ongoing, with the regulator continuing to gather evidence and build its case. It is worth noting that the investigated companies share a similar name with NGS Super, a legitimate Australian pensions provider, leading to potential confusion among investors. NGS Super clarified that it is not involved in selling cryptocurrency or related products and has taken legal action to protect its trademark and members’ interests.

Source: iclg.com

The post ASIC cracks down on blockchain mining firms appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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Crypto and Blockchain Weave Deeper Into the Biometrics Space – Identity News Digest

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AuthID Inc. has formed a strategic partnership with the National Notarial Centralized Verification System (NNCVS) to integrate biometric identity verification into NNCVS’s online notary platform. NNCVS, a provider of nationwide online services for notaries, aims to transition from a local, in-person framework to a more secure, digital model. By leveraging AuthID’s platform, NNCVS will authenticate the identities of notarial agents and their clients using biometric checks that compare selfies with ID document photos. This enhancement ensures heightened security throughout users’ interactions with the service.

iVALT has introduced a mobile app called OnDemandID, designed to enable users to verify the identity of individuals during phone calls, video calls, or online interactions with a single click. The app employs multiple verification elements, including biometrics, device ID, and location-based parameters like geofencing and time windowing, to prevent deepfake attacks and identity fraud. OnDemandID prioritizes user privacy by storing biometric data locally on the device and refraining from tracking user movements. Additionally, iVALT offers integration into existing enterprise mobile apps, providing a solution to enhance caller verification processes within corporate environments.

Keyless, a company specializing in secure facial recognition, has partnered with EnQualify, an AI-powered Know Your Customer (KYC) verification provider, to enhance online identity verification. Keyless’s privacy-centric ZKB technology will integrate with EnQualify’s AI for initial user verification, enabling a seamless and secure authentication process. This collaboration eliminates the need for repetitive steps and data storage, offering a faster and more user-friendly verification experience while ensuring robust security measures.

Australian fintech Waave has launched its Wallet app to enhance security and convenience for online payments. Integrated with Waave’s Pay by Bank system, Wallet utilizes fingerprint or facial recognition for secure authentication, eliminating the need for passwords and card details. This approach addresses concerns about online fraud, providing a streamlined payment process for consumers and merchants alike. Additionally, Wallet will introduce expense tracking features later in 2024, further enhancing its utility for users.

BeatBit Wellness Lab has introduced the CUDIS ring, a wearable device focused on user-controlled health data management. Powered by Solana blockchain technology, CUDIS tracks biometric data and offers personalized health insights using AI algorithms. Users can contribute anonymized data to a research network and earn rewards, emphasizing data ownership and privacy. The CUDIS ring integrates securely with other Solana and Web3 products, offering users a comprehensive health monitoring solution within the decentralized ecosystem.

Worldcoin has unveiled World Chain, a new blockchain platform designed to prioritize verified human users over bots, aiming to reduce network congestion and transaction fees. Integrated with the Worldcoin protocol’s Proof of Personhood, World Chain provides verified users with priority blockspace and gas allowances. This Layer 2 solution, secured by Ethereum, offers developers access to a large pool of verified users for deploying utility applications. World Chain is set to be open source and permissionless, with plans for community-based governance in the future.

New South Wales (NSW) has launched an Australia-first trial to test digital birth certificates, involving over 18,000 children associated with specific educational institutions. Led by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in collaboration with the Department of Customer Service, the pilot explores the use of digital certificates with the same legal validity as traditional paper versions. Digital birth certificates aim to simplify administrative tasks and offer enhanced security and convenience, particularly in disaster-prone areas where paper documents could be compromised.

Source: findbiometrics.com

The post Crypto and Blockchain Weave Deeper Into the Biometrics Space – Identity News Digest appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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