Web3 infrastructure provider Aligned raised $34 million ($47 million AUD) in a stealth funding round.
Aligned cashes in
Usually it’s crypto exchanges or DeFi protocols announcing big funding rounds. But this time, rather little-known infrastructure provider Aligned, headed by former ConsenSys Chief Strategy Officer Sam Cassatt, announced a significant $47 million AUD funding round at an undisclosed valuation. Among the investors were Altium Capital, Calvary Fund, Aligned’s ecosystem partner GSR, and several private investors like Happy Walters.
Aligned announced that the funding would be allocated towards expanding its high-performance computing footprint:
“We are buying silicon, manufacturing and installing the custom hardware that we produce with that silicon, as well as expanding our HPC (high-performance computing) team. Most of this hardware will go into our primary data center and will be expanding to more soon.”
Aligned focuses on mining, staking, and liquidity provisioning technology for EVM-compatible blockchains and layer-two chains. Thanks to proof-of-stake consensus mechanisms steadily growing in demand, staking and validators are a hot commodity now. Aligned allows users to provide liquidity and announced that it had already provided over 15,000 Ether in liquidity across all DeFi ecosystems:
“You need three basic things to make a DeFi application work, and we provide all of them: 1. liquidity/money in the protocol, 2. software that sends the transactions and runs the blockchain, and 3. computers to run it on, in our case specialized hardware that is designed for this use. Taken together, this is a ‘full-stack’ infrastructure since it works and operates at these layers in a vertically integrated way.”
Web3 will need infrastructure providers
Much of the attention web3 receives goes towards “flashier” applications like DeFi or GameFi. But it’s going to be the “invisible helpers” that actually decide how much we will use web3. Investment firms are increasingly picking up on this and have invested big money in Blockdaemon ($280 million AUD for a $4.47 billion AUD valuation) and Alchemy ($275 million AUD for a $13.8 billion AUD valuation).
So far, many blockchain protocols are still doing a poor job of interacting with each other. Although they are interoperable, the user experience is often poor and forces the user to connect different decentralised applications. For instance, if you take out a loan at Maker Dao and want to swap your stablecoins at Curve Finance to deploy them at another protocol, you will face about ten minutes of log-ins, transaction signatures, and browsing; and that’s if you are a DeFi power user!
Infrastructure applications try to tackle problems like these since they are the applications that work in the background and make your life as a user a lot easier. With money pouring into these applications, we could soon really see an entirely different web3 and one that challenges the way we have been using the internet so far. Investment funds will keep a close eye on these products. If you want to learn about hidden gems, so should you.