Hyperlane and the bridge to a multichain future

Why we're backing founders Asa, Nam and Jon

Variant is proud to lead the seed round for Hyperlane, the interchain communication protocol and application development platform.

At Variant, one of our core investment themes is the expanding layer cake of blockchain computing. This ever-growing stack across L1s, L2s and more opens up a new adjacent possible on which developers can build applications.

Bridging enables communication between blockchain layers. Without bridges, smart contract-based applications would only be accessible and composable within the chain on which they’re deployed. Hyperlane allows applications to transfer messages between chains and provides easy-to-use developer tools for building the next generation of interchain apps.  

There are many approaches to bridging that are coming to market, each with a slightly different take on the key attributes of interchain communication – trustlessness, security, extensibility and developer experience. We’re backing Hyperlane because it has nailed what we consider to be a key challenge in this space: abstracting away multi-chain complexity for developers so they can hit the ground running.

The “developer’s developer”

Hyperlane is also a world class team, with the perfect combination of skills to take on this challenge. The founders include crypto veterans Asa Oines and Nam Chu Hoai, who were the first engineers at cLabs building the Celo Protocol, and Jon Kol, who led Galaxy Digital’s venture practice. The team is also closely advised by Zaki Manian, the co-creator of Cosmos and IBC, and Morgan Beller, the co-creator of Diem.

We’ve long been familiar with this team and the level of talent they bring to this project. While at Celo, Medha worked closely with both Asa, who designed their proof-of-stake protocol and stablecoin mechanism, as well as Nam, who shipped ODIS, a secure and private way to map identifiers, such as phone numbers, to wallet addresses. All three founders blend their deeply technical skill sets with a strong  ability to communicate complex topics in an accessible way that rallies others to their cause. 

We see the Hyperlane team as the “developer’s developer” – deeply in tune with their fellow devs’ key pain points, with the perfect skillset to make building across chains simple, safe and easy. They’re already doing so by providing strong default templates, which speed up developer integration; starter dapp examples for various use cases, and easy-to-use APIs for sending interchain messages and querying information from multiple chains. Finally, they’ve created sovereign consensus, an optional security feature that allows developers to customize their security model, such as  PoS, PoA or optimistic, for their dApp according to their needs. This ability to filter the types of messages that any application can receive makes Hyperlane one of the most robust bridging designs for interchain apps. 

We’re just as excited about the world that Hyperlane opens up. With the help of Hyperlane, end-user applications can better abstract away underlying infrastructure and provide experiences that “just work.” Your money, data and identity should move with you across all of web3, irrespective of the underlying chain. Hyperlane and other bridging applications enable this kind of experience to be fluid, safe and simple. 

What’s next

Hyperlane’s alpha launched a few weeks ago and has already been piloted by a few large dApps, including Flow and Toucan. Developers can test Hyperlane by checking out their docs and github page.

Finally, Hyperlane is hiring across the board – if you want help build the interchain future, check out open positions here.

For more opportunities across the greater crypto ecosystem, check out our Variant job board.