Staking protocol developer EigenLabs has raised $50 million in a Series A round led by Blockchain Capital. The funding comes as EigenLabs prepares to launch the initial version of its EigenLayer protocol in phases throughout the year. The size of the round is notable during a protracted crypto winter that has seen investors focusing more on smaller, early-stage rounds.
Seattle-based EigenLabs was founded in 2021 to address the issue that it’s difficult to improve blockchain infrastructure without launching a new blockchain and the so-called trust network that offers security for the chain.
In September Ethereum shifted from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake consensus method, which replaced crypto miners with validators, or “stakers,” who lock up tokens within the network to help keep it secure in exchange for financial reward. EigenLayer allows users to “restake” tokens that are locked up to validate Ethereum so those tokens can be reused to help secure other protocols.
“One of the central bottlenecks to innovation in today’s crypto ecosystem is the requirement for projects to bootstrap trust, or cryptoeconomic security,” said EigenLabs founder and CEO Sreeram Kannan in the press release. “We started working on EigenLayer in the hopes of creating a new model in which developers can easily consume trust, instead of needing to build trust, and design powerful systems of assurances that make the crypto ecosystem safer and more useful.” .
Kannan is an associate professor at the University of Washington and runs the UW Blockchain Lab. The EigenLayer team has deep experience with tech companies, including Amazon Web Services, Meta Platforms (the former Facebook) and Microsoft.
Other backers in the round included Electric Capital, Polychain Capital, Hack VC, Finality Capital Partners, andCoinbase Ventures, among others. EigenLabs last raised funds in August with a $14.5 million seed round led by Polychain Capital and Ethereal Ventures.