Announcing Stackr's $5.5M Seed Fundraise

We are excited to announce our $5.5M seed round led by Archetype with participation from prominent funds, strategic investors, and angels, including a16z CSS, Lemniscap, Superscrypt, Spartan, Scalar Capital, a_capital, Sreeram Kannan, Anurag Arjun, Mustafa Al-Bassam and others to onboard the next wave of builders to web3.

Stackr is a comprehensive and modular framework designed to enable developers to seamlessly build micro-rollups using general-purpose programming languages.

Our Mission: Empower every developer to build scalable web3 apps

Building applications for the blockchain has always been a niche field with a steep learning curve. Many non-web3 teams shy away from the complexities, even though decentralization could significantly enhance their offerings.

Stackr provides the simplest route to building web3 applications, offering developers a "web2 way for building web3 applications." With our powerful developer tooling, new teams and existing enterprises with web2 applications can seamlessly transition to decentralized solutions.

We call the apps built using Stackr, Micro-rollups.

Redefining (blockchain) app development through Micro-rollups

Rollups are applications that perform off-chain execution and post the execution data on a host blockchain. By doing so, they derive the security properties of the host chain.

Conceptualized as a solution to the scaling problems of blockchains, rollups were conceived amidst the skyrocketing network fees on Ethereum. The initial EVM-based general-purpose rollups were designed to provide a quick fix, preserving the ‘Ethereum developer experience’ while minimizing transaction costs. They served as an immediate remedy for the blockspace crisis. However, this initial approach to rollups has its own set of limitations.

One of them being the single-threaded nature and the global shared state of the EVM execution environment. A notable incident occurred when Arbitrum, one of the largest rollups, witnessed gas prices far surpassing those of Ethereum during its Odyssey event in July 2022, causing network congestion and impacting all apps on the rollup. This is because all applications were competing for the same, congested blockspace!

The solution to such predicaments lies in building isolated execution environments for each app, a.k.a., App-specific rollups.

App-specific rollups are chains that provide a customized and/or optimized execution environment to support specific use cases. These customizations could be protocol level - such as block times or gas measurement or even application level like custom cryptography or pre-compiles. They can be shared by similar applications or could serve just a single one.

However, while app rollups provide an optimized solution to the block space crisis, “constructing new architectures” for these app rollups is still quite difficult! It requires the management of various components, including establishing a state machine, the intricacies of data transport, and the implementation of verification mechanisms.

This is where Stackr comes in. The Stackr SDK offers pre-packaged modules that can be tailored to specific needs allowing developers to easily build bespoke rollups from scratch each with their own unique designs.

However, Stackr transcends traditional VM-based rollups, taking the concept of app rollups to a new level where execution doesn't necessarily rely on a VM but can instead employ custom logic written in nearly any programming language. We proudly introduce Micro-rollups, ushering in a new era of logic-specificity alongside app-specificity.

Introducing Micro-rollups (MRUs): A Paradigm Shift in App-specific Rollups

Micro-rollups are neo execution environments with primary objective of empowering developers by providing them with the necessary tools to create a broader range of web3 applications. This is achieved by offering developers a toolkit that aligns seamlessly with their existing knowledge and expertise, simplifying the complexities associated with building native web3 applications.

Basic Architecture of a Micro-rollup
Basic Architecture of a Micro-rollup

At the heart of the micro-rollup concept lies the principle of separation of execution and proving. The executor’s primary duty is to execute transactions, while the burden of ensuring the accuracy of the execution results is shifted to an external entity or auditor. This approach allows the executor to implement the core business logic in an unconstrained flexible manner and focus on throughput while the slower and costlier process of generating proofs or attestations is delegated away.

Unlike traditional blockchains, while MRUs can be used to build full rollups, they do not place the same emphasis on the highest levels of security or complete permissionless-ness. Instead, their focus is on achieving “Sufficient Decentralization”, striking a balance between the familiarity of Web2 development and the security inherent in Web3. Some examples of the kind of apps that this approach is suitable for include (as also noted by Vitalik himself in his post “Different types of layer 2s“):

  1. For current app-chains who want to strip off some weight off of their protocols by piggy backing on Ethereum’s or other chain’s security models

  2. Centralized projects seeking to enhance security assurances for their users through blockchain-based solutions

  3. Current-gen centralized financial applications like CEXs who would want to provide users more visibility into their systems like proofs of solvency.

  4. Non-financial applications, such as games or social media platforms, that aspire to be decentralized but require a “halfway-house” level of security

  5. Systems that require additional co-processing and want to get trusted input inside Ethereum

  6. and many more…

In essence, Micro-rollups offer a blend of accessibility, user-friendliness, and a certain degree of decentralization, making them a valuable tool for the expansion of the web3 ecosystem.

A web2 way for building web3 applications

Much like conventional Web2 apps, micro-rollups can be self-hosted on various cloud infrastructures. The Stackr SDK delivers a developer experience akin to traditional server-side or web2 backend application development. Additionally, Stackr’s roadmap includes plans to offer a mechanism for hosting these MRUs on behalf of developers in the future.

The Vulcans noted for their logic and rationalism form a committee to serve the Stackr Network and maintain order among MRUs
The Vulcans noted for their logic and rationalism form a committee to serve the Stackr Network and maintain order among MRUs

Stackr will provide its core framework in multiple languages along with an aptly named verification layer - Vulcan committee, starting with JavaScript, as it is the most commonly used language for building web apps. Eventually, the SDK will also be made available in other languages like Python, Golang, Rust, C#, and more. The aim is to provide tooling support for use-case-specific builds. For example, having a toolkit in C# will allow Unity game developers to leverage micro-rollups in their projects, and with Golang developers can build multi-nodal micro-rollup networks.

In addition to the core library, Stackr will offer pre-built state machine wrappers for specific use cases, such as token transfers. We intend to extend these wrappers to basic applications like exchanges, marketplaces, and social networking apps, among others so that developers don't have to bootstrap their applications from scratch.

Stackr aims at expanding its base toolkit via first and third party plugins for Sequencing, Data Availability adapters, Account Abstraction, Indexing, Hosting and multitude of other services and is open to collaboration on the development of these plugins and wrappers.

Next steps on the road to the moon 🚀🌕

If modular Pepe can build it, so can you!
If modular Pepe can build it, so can you!

The raised capital will be allocated towards several key objectives, including team expansion, preparation for the imminent launch of the platform's v1 version, and the growth of Stackr's developer ecosystem. Our overarching goal is to engage with a diverse community of independent developers and enterprise teams that are actively involved in developing applications for both Web2 and Web3.

Soon, we will also be launching our developer preview for a select few developers to give the Stackr SDK a spin. As a private beta tester, you will have early access to the various modules and direct support from the team. We will also be hosting a Hacker House Bootcamp in the build-up to ETH India later this year. If you're interested in participating, keep an eye out on our Twitter for an upcoming announcement.

Decentralized app development is currently constrained to a niche subset of crypto-natives. With Stackr, we aim to make it accessible for all. We want to break down the barriers between web2 and web3 by making it easy to build and operate rollups by providing a web2 like developer experience and abstracting away the on-chain complexities.

A truly permissionless on-chain world will be built when developers can innovate without restrictions. That is the vision that guides us at Stackr. #onwards

Stay tuned for Stackr Whitepaper dropping soon!

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