Decentralized exchange (DEX) ZkLink has closed a $8.5 million funding round led by Republic Crypto to help ramp up for its market launch later this year.
ZkLink aims to become the first multi-chain DEX to enable one-click, cross-chain transfers across both Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and non-EVM-compatible chains.
At launch, the first layer 1 chains to be supported will include Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Huobi Eco Chain and Polygon.
The cross-chain quest
DEXs can be difficult for beginner users to navigate. Users also often have to use a different DEX for each blockchain network, complicating cross-chain asset transfers.
ZkLink connects separate layer 2 networks with a single layer 1 network for easier token exchanges from a single interface, a structure that also lowers gas or transaction fees.
The project launched its testnet in July and the protocol experienced a 40% spike in users over the past 30 days, coinciding with China’s latest crypto trading crackdown. ZkLink now has close to 10,000 users participating in its open beta ahead of the mainnet, or live blockchain, launch.
Other participants in the funding round included Arrington Capital, DeFi Alliance, Huobi Ventures, Ascensive Assets, Morningstar Ventures, GSR and Marshland Capital.
“Interoperability is the goal of many blockchain projects but ZkLink fully backs up the talk, allowing intuitive cross-chain exchange across multiple chains,” Andrew Durgee, head of Republic Crypto, said in a press release. “We’re very excited to see zero-knowledge technology implemented in this way in the realm of decentralized finance and look forward to supporting the ZkLink team throughout their journey.”
“Trustless interoperability is the Holy Grail of blockchain, but there aren’t many projects and products tackling cross-chain from a user perspective,” Michael Arrington, founder of Arrington Capital, said in a statement. “ZkLink’s innovative decentralized exchange is tackling this obstacle and making it easier than ever for anyone to take part in secure, safe cross-chain asset swaps.”
The ZkLink investment comes during a busy October for Republic, which consists of several arms, including a private capital division and the crypto consultancy business.
Republic Capital launched a $60 million crypto seed fund earlier this month.
Republic Crypto teamed with the venture capital arm of crypto exchange Huobi to back crypto startup growth.
Republic is also fresh off of its own $150 million fundraise.