Ethereum Scaling Project SKALE Raises $17.1 Million for Mainnet Launch

SKALE Network, a blockchain scalability platform, has raised $17.1 million to launch its mainnet. The firm says it could be ethereum’s “best shot” to beat other smart contract platforms.

The investment consists of a $10 million contribution from SKALE Labs and $7 million in a recent financing, SKALE Labs CEO Jack O’Holleran told CoinDesk, noting the numbers are not final due to ongoing accounting adjustments and asset transfers.

Nineteen investors participated in the recent financing, including Arrington XRP Capital, Blockchange, ConsenSys Labs, Hashed, HashKey, Multicoin Capital, Recruit Holdings and Winklevoss Capital, bringing the total number of backers of the project to over 40, according to O’Holleran.

The contribution from the San Francisco-based SKALE Labs largely comes from its previous financing through a $10 million Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) sale including an $8.68 million funding round led by Multicoin Capital and $785,000 from earlier investors last year

“Skale has grown tremendously over the past year in almost every aspect,” Kyle Samani, managing partner of Multicoin Capital, told CoinDesk via email, adding:

“There’s a lot to like, and we’ve been impressed by their ability to set strategy, design spec, and execute. The product is also clearly hitting a nerve. I expect a majority of the smart contracts in the Ethereum ecosystem to eventually leverage Skale.”

The funding will be used to seed and stabilize SKALE’s proof-of-stake network and increase its security, as well as adding more people to the 20-person engineering team, O’Holleran said.

After a token sale last October, SKALE Labs launched a testnet in late-2018 and established the NODE Foundation in April 2019. NODE is similar to the non-profit Ethereum Foundation in that both organizations promote the use of their respective networks.

Smart-contract competition

SKALE is the latest attempt at boosting the scalability of the ethereum blockchain.

The network says it will enable dapps to conduct “millions of transactions per second at a fraction of the cost of what’s possible today,” according to a statement from SKALE Labs.

O’Holleran added in a statement:

“Helping Ethereum Dapp developers scale applications is the center of what we do.”

The network aims to help the developers by providing a Layer 2 platform with high speeds, fast finality and low costs, SKALE Labs said.

Gaming and decentralize finance (DeFi) applications are where SKALE hopes to move the needle, O’Holleran said.

“A lot of games not only want to have a blockchain to support payments within the system but also have NFTs [non-fungible tokens], the part of the game that lives on the blockchain,” he said.

Blockchain investors of late have seemed to be bullish on the gaming use-case.

In September, South African firm Naspers Ventures led a $15 million Series A funding round in Immutable Games, the maker of Gods Unchained.

Two months earlier, Initialized Capital, Coinbase Ventures and Polychain Capital invested $3.75 million in Horizon Games, a blockchain-based game studio with a Hearthstone competitor called Skyweaver.

O’Holleran said SKALE currently has 23 different dapps on the platform. The full list of gaming companies that partner with SKALE will be released at the beginning of November, he said.

Hashed, as one of the network’s major investors, was chosen for its strategic value in the South Korean gaming market, O’Holleran said, adding:

“I think the [Korean] market is really adopting compared to the rest of the world. I think it is going to be the first place we see significant traction.”

Ethereum and USD image via Shutterstock