Lisa Cuesta and I are proud to announce our investment in KYVE’s second funding round, alongside the incredible Ashley Tyson of Hypersphere Ventures and Garrett MacDonald of Permanent Ventures, and strategic ecosystem partners including protocol founders and foundations.
When Pierre Chuzeville interviewed me on my angel investing as part of Dove Dispatch, I realized that my greatest investment mistake has been not valuing momentum highly enough. This is a mistake I was determined to not repeat — so when I connected with the KYVE team, I knew this was one I couldn’t miss.
KYVE is a decentralized archival network that enables data streams, such as blocks in a blockchain, to be standardized, proven valid, and stored as permanent resources on the Arweave blockchain.
The sentence above will be totally meaningless to most, but those who run blockchain infrastructure or build on blockchains will quickly grok KYVE’s significance. Blockchain infrastructure is notoriously hard to run because most nodes take weeks, or even months, to sync from scratch — and they need constant upkeep to remain usable. Over time, this problem will only worsen, as blockchains become more complex, increase their throughput, and have longer histories to sync.
Providing a permanent copy of a blockchain’s history that is easily accessible opens up crucial use cases.
The simplest use case is enabling users to spin up new nodes in minutes instead of hours or even months. While Bison Trails solved this problem for our users by creating Global Blockchain Sync (GBS), KYVE can potentially solve this problem for everyone.
“When new nodes are launched, they have to catch up to the rest of the network before they can begin performing useful work. Newly launched nodes must sync from the genesis block, which can take hours to months to be fully synced, depending upon the protocol and node type. Blockchain snapshotting has existed for some time as a way to address this challenge, but snapshotting does not provide sufficient safeguards for enterprise applications because the image’s authenticity cannot be confirmed before deployment.
Bison Trails’ Global Blockchain Sync (GBS) uses blockchain imaging technology to expedite the syncing of a node on any protocol. By maintaining verified and secure images of multiple blockchains and making them available to newly launched nodes across multiple cloud providers and regions, Global Blockchain Sync decreases this initial sync time over 100x. Instead of syncing the entire chain from genesis, newly launched nodes on Bison Trails load in 99.99% of the chain and only need to sync from there to catch up to the current state of the network.” — Bison Trails
By constantly updating the permanent record of a blockchain’s state, users can leverage this storage to pull snapshots of chains at any block height into their nodes to dramatically reduce how long they must wait until these nodes become usable.
Of course, the security guarantees, performance, and other characteristics will vary widely between centralized and decentralized service providers, but we’re big believers in optionality and think KYVE will serve an important user type.
PRESERVING HISTORICAL DATA
Certain protocols, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, value the preservation of continuous state above almost all else, but this perspective is not universally held. Protocols like Cosmos only maintain their current state during network upgrades, so if you didn’t hold on to your own copy of the previous ledger, you may never be able to retrieve that transaction history. Solana nodes also do not keep the full history of the protocol, and we believe that over time layer 2 protocols on Ethereum will also choose to store their history elsewhere to optimize speed and costs.
Today, protocol data is preserved through a hodgepodge of solutions. Protocol foundations maintain copies, community members are building out custom off-chain storage, and Polygon launched Avail, a general-purpose data availability layer, with other teams following suit.
We believe KYVE will serve as the backup data solution to start, but as KYVE and Arweave continue to gain adoption and increase their security, KYVE may become the primary solutions to store data for other protocols.
Protocol interoperability as a use case is a long shot, but one I’m particularly excited about. One of the challenges in connecting protocols to one another is that each protocol struggles to trustlessly know what is happening on the other protocol. To that end, there tend to be complex systems of bridging validator sets or light clients that are able to stand between protocols and serve as listening services for each chain, with varying degrees of trust assumptions.
Theoretically, if you had confidence that you had an accurate view of each blockchain’s state using KYVE, you could just focus on managing the activity on each chain and leverage the state on KYVE to trigger transactions and events. So instead of building custom listening services from each blockchain to every other blockchain, resulting in n2 connections, you could simply connect every blockchain to KYVE, and have n connections.
This obviously has a lot of challenges, with re-orgs being at the top of the list. It’s a long shot. But if we’re playing on a 5–10 year time horizon and assume most blockchains will become more secure in that timeframe, there’s a world where KYVE unlocks generalizable protocol interoperability.
There are many exciting use cases for KYVE, but frankly, a platform that serves all chain-state data might have applications we are simply not aware of today. The most important thing to know is that KYVE’s community, including its backers, users, and partners, is chock full of protocol teams. Protocols including Arweave, Cosmos, Polkadot, Solana, NEAR, Celo, Mina, Aurora, Moonbeam, Avalanche, The Graph, Octopus Network, Zilliqa, Redstone, and Koii are already involved, and others will quickly follow.
KYVE has a lot of technical challenges to solve as it addresses scalability, performance, security, data issues, and unpredictable blockchain behavior resulting from attacks, downtime, or re-orgs. But the team is strong, the traction is compelling, and the community is excited. Lisa and I are thrilled to support KYVE and encourage you to follow their progress here.