From Ethereum and Solana to Tezos and Avalanche, recent years have seen the proliferation of dozens of blockchains, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and primary use cases.
Against this backdrop, Polymer Labs emerged from stealth with $3.6 million in seed funding to build infrastructure for a multi-chain future. The round, co-led by Distributed Global and North Island Ventures, was also joined by CoinDesk’s parent company, Digital Currency Group (DCG).
Polymer Labs infrastructure is built to grow the IBC protocol (inter-blockchain communication), a standard originally developed for the Cosmos ecosystem to allow different blockchains to easily communicate with each other. Typically, an application built on a blockchain is incompatible with other chains – requiring accident pronetedious “bridges” to put in place to connect information from one ecosystem to another.
Cosmos introduced a partial solution to this problem with IBC, providing a uniform set of blockchain building standards that allow assets and applications to move easily across IBC-enabled chains.
Polymer Labs struggles with the fact that not all chains are built to IBC standards, and its routing and deployment protocol, Polymer, aims to make it easier for non-IBC blockchains to interact with IBC-based chains.
“We spent a lot of time studying the ecosystem and the different interoperability projects and different solutions,” co-founder Peter Kim told CoinDesk in an interview. “What we found is that the Cosmos documentation and the IBC specification that Tendermint [now Ignite] built so far, have been among the sturdiest we have seen.
Growth on Cosmos
By Cosmos’ own accountCosmos hosts 28 different IBC-enabled blockchains with a combined market capitalization of $73 billion.
Much of the crypto activity still takes place on non-IBC chains like Ethereum and Solana, but Polymer’s infrastructure should make it easier for apps on those chains to interact with IBC-enabled chains like Earth and Osmosis.
Polymer is still in its early stages and does not yet have a token, but development will ultimately be governed by PolymerDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization that will allow token holders to vote on proposals determining the future of the protocol. According to a company press release, PolymerDAO will be the first DAO focused on IBC infrastructure.