Aleph Zero, a nonprofit foundation overseeing the development of a layer-1 privacy-enhancing blockchain, has launched a $50 million Ecosystem Funding Program to support developer teams in building on its platform and advancing blockchain adoption globally. The program is designed to provide comprehensive support to attract developers, going beyond just grants, and including assistance with business feasibility, regulatory compliance, and community-building. The foundation aims to offer access to a reliable partner network, as well as sharing its own experience in building something from scratch.
“We’re hoping to introduce a somewhat redesigned approach to how layer-1s can support builders and to go beyond simply providing grants,” said Zolciak.
The Ecosystem Funding Program comprises grants, incubation, and acceleration at all stages of product development, with successful applicants receiving up to $500,000 per project in grant funding. Additionally, grant recipients will gain exclusive access to Aleph Zero’s venture capital pool, infrastructure credits from Amazon Web Services, and security design consultations from Kudelski Security. The Aleph Zero partner network will also provide marketing, branding, UX, product design, and operational support as needed.
During its pilot phase, the program has already produced a range of successful projects, including decentralized lending and borrowing protocol Abax, NFT marketplace ArtZero, domain name service AZERO Domains, unique dark metaverse experience DRKVRS, enterprise-grade decentralized identity platform Gatenox, and decentralized security platform Interlock.
The Aleph Zero Ecosystem Funding Program is backed by long-term contributors to the project, including NxGen, Diamond Atlas Capital, BlackDragon, Necker Ventures, Hodl.nl and Hodl Ventures, Pragma Ventures, RR2 Capital, Cardinal Cryptography and Cardinal Ventures, Bellwether Rocks, and Offbeat.
The launch of the Ecosystem Funding Program is timely, given the recent decline in venture capitalist investment into crypto firms during the first quarter of 2023. According to a report by Galaxy Research, the research arm of crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital, VC investment fell to $2.4 billion, the lowest sum invested since the last quarter of 2020. Companies building in the Web3, NFTs, DAOs, Metaverse, and Gaming subsector raised the most deals, while Trading, Exchange, Investing, and Lending companies raised the most capital ($538m).
VC investments have been falling since peaking at nearly $13 billion in Q1 2022, with the latest quarter’s results representing a decline of over 80% compared to the same period last year. Against this backdrop, Aleph Zero’s Ecosystem Funding Program represents a promising development, offering much-needed support and resources to help developer teams build innovative products and services on the blockchain.