The Layer 1 trade still appears to have some life in it.
Aptos Labs, the web3 startup developing the Aptos blockchain, has raised $150M in Series A funding.
The round was led by FTX Ventures and Jump Crypto also included TradFi giants, Apollo Global Management, the private equity firm, and Franklin Templeton, the mutual fund provider.
‘Upgradeable Blockchain Tech’
Aptos was founded by developers who formerly worked on Diem, Meta’s blockchain initiative that the social media giant abandoned in January. The company plans to use the funding to “ship the most performant and upgradable blockchain technology”.
Aptos Labs has scored $350M of funding in 2022 despite the bear market, having raised $200M earlier in the year.
Crypto investment firm Multicoin Capital, which announced a $430M fund earlier this month, invested in both of Aptos’ rounds.
Multicoin was also the lead investor for Solana’s $20M seed round in 2019, an investment which is likely one of the best venture bets in crypto history. Kyle Samani, managing partner at Multicoin, is swinging for the fences again with his firm’s investment in Aptos.
“Solana and Aptos are the correct architecture for scaling Layer 1s (maximizing throughput of base layer), and so accordingly we made large investments in both.” Samani told The Defiant over email.
As a blockchain designed to act as a base network for applications, Aptos is known as a Layer 1 (L1), a category that includes Ethereum, Solana, and Avalanche.
Aptos and Solana both aim to maximize throughput all on one computing layer, rather than scaling through additional networks like Ethereum’s Layer 2s (L2s) and Avalanche’s Subnets.
2021 was largely the year of the alt-Layer 1 trade — Solana’s SOL posted eye-watering gains of 9,848% and Avalanche’s AVAX somehow paled in comparison with a 3,165% gain.
As the bear market has settled into 2022, with Ethereum Layer 2s (L2s) gaining steam and Cosmos’ “appchain” model also drawing major players, one would thinkthat the wind has left the sails of L1s and that momentum has shifted towards verticals like DeFi and gaming built on top of L1s.
The $150M poured into Aptos shows that many investors still have an apetite for L1s. Of course, there are skeptics.
“Gives Multicoin another chance to dump on retail,” tweeted Ethereum bull and educator, Anthony Sassano, in response to a crypto investor’s question about the difference between Solana and Aptos.
Crypto influencer Autism Capital thinks there will be money to be made from the “scam pump”.
Samani gave a different answer when The Defiant asked a similar question.
“Aptos primarily differentiates from Solana with the Move [virtual machine] and language, which sets the standard in safety and efficiency,” he said. Move is a programming language developed by Meta, formerly Facebook, for the now sunsetted Libra digital currency.
This underscores a key fact about Aptos, which could justify its high valuation — the project has emerged from the ashes of Libra, which pivoted to a project called Diem, which shut down in January citing regulatory concerns.
Aptos’ two co-founders, Mo Shaikh and Avery Ching, both worked on Diem at Meta before leaving the company and starting Aptos Labs.
It’s unclear if Aptos will emerge as technology that pushes blockchain adoption to the next level or merely another VC-propelled L1 that struggles to find meaningful adoption.