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Nomura’s Laser Digital backs Singularity for permissioned, confidential DeFi

permissioned confidentiality security

Yesterday blockchain startup Singularity announced it raised a $2.2 million funding round led by Gumi Cryptos Capital, bringing total funds raised to $4 million. Nomura’s digital asset arm Laser Digital was a new investor alongside Eureka partners. 

Singularity aims to provide a compliant institutional access layer to decentralized finance (DeFi). This combines know your customer (KYC) compliance with on-chain anonymity by using zero knowledge proofs.

Institutions don’t usually like others to be able to see what they are up to. Hence the desire for anonymity.

Other public blockchain solutions aim to provide similar functionality, but the architecture varies. Singularity appears to be close to the Ethereum composability ethos – it primarily provides the KYC and anonymization solution. So permissioned users can use popular DeFi protocols without others being able to see what they’re up to.

Some other offerings expect to capture all the transactions on their own Layer 2 blockchains. One example is Obscuro, founded by the former Chief Engineer of enterprise blockchain firm R3. However, Obscuro also addresses an additional challenge. Transactions on public blockchains such as Ethereum can be viewed before they happen. That encourages front running and other activity, so-called miner extractable value (MEV). Obscuro addresses this by using encryption and special hardware. EY also developed a Layer 2 confidentiality solution, Polygon Nightfall.

Circling back to Singularity, the solution hasn’t yet launched but plans to with liquid funds, asset managers and venture capitalists, including many of its investors.

“We look forward to launching in the coming months with our early institutional users,” said Jemma Xu, co-founder of Singularity. “We have an exciting product roadmap ahead with more integrations and multichain deployments. Our immediate focus is on growing our institutional user base.”     

Previous Singularity investors include Apollo Crypto, Digital Asset Capital Management and Gandel Invest.