“Simplifying Blockchain Development: Initia Secures $7.5M in Seed Funding”

It’s hard to keep track of crypto’s technical development, but one thing hasn’t changed much: blockchain applications are notoriously hard to build. This stems in part from their decentralized nature, resulting in a lack of uniform standards across different infrastructure pieces. Initia, founded by a group of developers in their late 20s, is trying to bring more interoperability to multi-chain networks and simplify the process of creating app-specific blockchains, or app chains. In layman’s speak, Initia is abstracting away app chains’ technical complexity, aiming to make them more friendly to both end users and app developers. They paused the project after the FTX implosion and eventually changed tack to work on blockchain infrastructure.

Keeping up with the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrency can be a challenging task, but one thing remains constant: building blockchain applications is a complex and difficult process. This is largely due to the decentralized nature of these networks, leading to a lack of standardized protocols across various infrastructure components.

Initia, a company founded by a group of young developers in their late 20s, is working towards improving interoperability within multi-chain networks and simplifying the creation of app-specific blockchains, or app chains. While popular blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin have gained widespread attention, app chains have emerged as a way for developers to have more control over customization, including economic and governance structures.

This fragmentation of the blockchain landscape creates numerous challenges for users. They must navigate various gas fees (imagine having to pay in JPY, USD, and EUR just to use different features in one app), wallets (imagine being asked to connect your PayPal, Apple Pay, and WeChat Pay to one app), and explorers (imagine having to open Firefox, Safari, and Chrome for different tasks within the same app).

“This becomes even more difficult when moving assets between blockchains,” says Initia’s co-founder Ezaan Mangalji, also known as “Zon” to TechCrunch during an interview.

For example, the stablecoin USDC might have different versions on the same chain, such as bUSDC, USDCet, and USDCso, due to being “transferred to that chain over X, Y, Z different paths or bridges,” explains Mangalji. However, with Initia, all assets are fungible across the multi-chain world, meaning there would only be one type of USDC across potentially thousands of app-specific blockchains.

Developers encounter similar challenges when building across chains. While there have been efforts like roll-ups to improve efficiency and scalability by removing validator sets, these methods can also “exacerbate fragmentation and are rigid or inflexible for developers,” according to Mangalji.

Cosmos, another solution addressing blockchain’s scaling problem, has been praised for its flexibility but can also be difficult to work with. As Mangalji points out, “Each Cosmos chain is a Layer 1 blockchain that requires a validator set and teams to pay for security by giving rewards to these validators.”

Initia aims to overcome both of these challenges by providing a Layer 1 blockchain network specifically designed to support a system of L2 rollups. These rollups can easily achieve scale and sovereignty, with the flexibility of the Cosmos SDK underneath.

In simpler terms, Initia is removing the technical complexity of app chains, making them more user-friendly for both end users and developers.

“Our ultimate goal is to have thousands and tens of thousands of applications being built on crypto, in web3, and specifically on Initia without users even realizing they are using a crypto project,” says Stan Liu, Initia’s other co-founder. “We want to create an Apple App Store where thousands of users can easily access these applications.”

Initia recently raised $7.5 million in seed financing to work on its testnet launch. The investment, led by Delphi Ventures and HackVC, is a significant injection for a seed round in the current landscape of slowed crypto fundraising. Other investors in the round include Nascent, Figment Capital, Big Brain, and A.Capital.

When Liu and Mangalji initially decided to start a crypto company together in 2022, they were focused on decentralized finance, or DeFi. However, after the FTX implosion, they shifted their focus to blockchain infrastructure. Mangalji explains the reason for the pivot:

“During these downturns, we realized that the fragmentation of current blockchains, coupled with the fact that we were attempting to create one ourselves, was causing significant problems for both users and developers,” he says. “So we decided to team up again and build out the vision for Initia – a project that tackles these issues by building the necessary connections between modular stacks in-house.”

Initia is headquartered in Singapore and has a team of 20 dispersed around the globe. The company plans to use its new funding to expand its ecosystem, further develop its chain and platform, and support Layer 2 applications.

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Max Chen

Max Chen is an AI expert and journalist with a focus on the ethical and societal implications of emerging technologies. He has a background in computer science and is known for his clear and concise writing on complex technical topics. He has also written extensively on the potential risks and benefits of AI, and is a frequent speaker on the subject at industry conferences and events.

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