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Eigen Labs bags $100m from a16z in latest nine-digit crypto deal

Eigen Labs bags $100m from a16z in latest nine-digit crypto deal
Under CEO Sreeram Kannan, Eigen Layer has quadrupled its crypto assets to almost $8 billion in the past month.
  • Eigen Layer's deposits have quadrupled in the last month.
  • A16z's crypto arm makes a massive bet on restaking.
  • Sceptics fret protocol could destabilise Ethereum.

In a sign nine-digit fundraisings are heating up in crypto, Eigen Labs, the company behind the EigenLayer protocol, has raised $100 million from Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto arm, the companies said Thursday.

The raise comes at a heady time for EigenLayer. Crypto assets deposited in the protocol have quadrupled in the past month, to almost $8 billion, according to data from DefiLlama.

The value of crypto deposited in EigenLayer has quadrupled over the past month.

It is now the fourth-largest protocol in decentralised finance — a meteoric rise for a project less than a year old.

The move by a16z crypto, which manages $7.6 billion in assets, makes this the industry’s largest raise of the year since HashKey Group announced its own $100 million raise in January, according to DefiLlama data.

EigenLayer has pioneered restaking, which makes it possible to use the same capital to simultaneously secure Ethereum and a variety of other protocols.

Proponents have called it one of the most exciting developments on Ethereum, something that could make it safer, cheaper, and easier to launch new protocols.

100x faster

“The implications of this are profound,” a16z General Partner Ali Yahya wrote in a blog post announcing the raise.

EigenLayer has the potential to unlock “100x faster innovation” on crypto-based technology like the “bridges” that let users move tokens between blockchains, or the “oracles” that bring real-world data on-chain, Yahya continued.

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EigenLayer has also drawn controversy, however, with critics warning it could destabilise Ethereum.

An issue within one part of the system could cause a ripple effect on protocols that are built on restaking, especially if they’re not meticulously designed.

Eigen Labs founder Sreeram Kannan has detailed changes to the protocol that will let users buy “attributable security,” which he has likened to insurance.

An Eigen Labs-built protocol using EigenLayer, called EigenDA, is expected to launch in the first half of 2024, with third-party protocols to follow.

In 2023, EigenLabs raised $50 million at a $250 million post-equity valuation and a $500 million token valuation, according to The Block.

Aleks Gilbert is a New York based reporter covering DeFi. Got a tip? Email him at aleks@dlnews.com.

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