Valory raises $4 million to unlock software-driven autonomy for blockchain apps
Autonomous software systems developer Valory AG said today it has closed $4 million in seed funding to bridge the crypto infrastructure gap between decentralized Web3 apps and centralized services using open source tools.
True Ventures led the funding round with participation from Signature Ventures, Semantic Ventures, Prime Block Ventures, Proof Group and Atka.
Valory was launched in mid-2021 with the vision of realizing the promise of crypto, enabling developers to build apps that take advantage of off-chain protocols – that is, data not recorded on the blockchain – through true autonomy, which means transparency and less human intervention.
It would be useful for groups known as decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs, which govern themselves using blockchain technology and smart contracts. Their goal is essentially to become crypto companies or communities that work autonomously using blockchain technology for proposals, voting and other business operations. But DAOs that act as decentralized companies face a problem: Not all the information they need for their day-to-day operations and apps exists on blockchains.
“Crypto infrastructure has some gaps,” Valory co-founder David Minarsch explained to SiliconANGLE in an interview. “You can either run things on-chain and have all the capabilities be decentralized, or run certain actions off-chain and some things have to go off-chain. This causes a lot of fragility.”
For example, one may need to run a bot, a service, a database or something similar. Although a few of these exist as decentralized services, most data must be accessed remotely from clouds or must run within centralized services. Blockchain smart contracts themselves are self-executing software capable of performing crypto-transactions, but they can only be triggered within blockchains and cannot reach outside of them without third-party assistance.
What Valory does is provide a bot system software stack that Minarsch likens to a “Ruby-on-Rails for building autonomous services” for DAOs. It allows them to quickly build the infrastructure for the autonomous services that bridge these gaps.
For example, a developer could launch a decentralized swarm of bot agents using Valory’s open source infrastructure protocol to create a service capable of restocking the shelves of a wine store by making automated purchases. By connecting to the store inventory database and each agent looking at prices from different vendors, each bot can even agree on where to buy from based on predictive machine learning sales metrics.
To forward this mission, Valory launched Autonola’s DAO, which provides the permissionless on-chain protocol that enables the securing and management of autonomous bot services. Valory is already in use by several projects, including Brahma and Postmint. Brahma, a decentralized financial protocol, uses its open source stack to create bots as a way to decentralize its off-chain computing operations.
To drive adoption in the Autonolas protocol and Valory ecosystem, the company also hosts academies where developers can familiarize themselves with the software stack and gain experience building autonomous bot systems. A project launched from these academies, El Collectoorr, is an autonomous, non-functional token art collector robot system that intelligently collects NFTs for participants who fund it. It fractionalizes the artwork for the users so that they can receive investments in the art that was collected by the system.
“What we’re building here is a truly co-owned future of artificial intelligence, where AI is not owned by a few sets of billionaires,” Minarch said. “Instead, be it individuals, whether it’s traditional businesses, even groups of businesses can own autonomous services and even one day more advanced forms of AI. That’s what we’re here for.”