Welcome to the latest edition of Cointelegraph’s decentralized finance newsletter.
This week has been full of funding raises, innovations, service deployments and a bit of volatile technical price action — for a change.
Axelar Network attains $1B valuation following secondary raise
The Axelar Network announced the completion of a $35-million Series B funding round this week, elevating its total market valuation to over $1 billion and establishing its status as a unicorn corporation.
Major participants of the round include Dragonfly Capital, Polychain Capital and North Island Ventures, among others. The network has implemented partnership integrations with a suite of validators, as well as leading blockchain platforms such as Ethereum, Avalanche, Polygon and Polkadot.
Cointelegraph spoke exclusively to Axelar CEO and co-founder Sergey Gorbunov for an exclusive insight into the specific strategies for capital deployment across the business in preparation for its upcoming mainnet release.
He noted that the “primary focus is to provide universal interoperability with minimal risk” and that “the funds will be used to continue building the core network functionalities and scaling integrations with more blockchains and applications.”
“Axelar developers are also working to make the network easy to use so that developers on any blockchain can reach the deepest liquidity and broadest user base. With this in mind, we are dedicating resources to improving our APIs, SDKs and associated documentation.”
18.36M Ethereum addresses registered across 2023
New quantitative data released by blockchain intelligence firm IntoTheBlock this week revealed stark insights into the growth of network activity on Ethereum, with 18.36 million new addresses being created in 2023, equivalent to 1.53 million per month.
#Ethereum users growth in a nutshell
A good way to track the adoption is by following the number of addresses with a balance
— IntoTheBlock (@intotheblock) February 15, 2023
Despite numeral figures reaching new highs for primary addresses, the proportion of active addresses in relation to the overall figure decreased throughout the year, posting at 1.05% on Jan. 1, peaking at 1.66% on April 25, and subsequently falling to 0.86% by Feb. 15.
Despite this, Ethereum remains the dominant force in the smart contract market, topping the podium at a distance to its nearest competitor with $123.15 billion in total value locked, compared to Terra (LUNA) and the newly titled BNB Chain (BNB) with $15.5 billion and $12.6 billion, respectively.
Avalanche ecosystem fosters cross-chain bridge innovation
The technical performance of layer-1 network Avalanche’s native asset, AVAX, over the last 12 months has been a major proponent for cultivating an innovative ecosystem of new products and services designed to enhance or entirely replace existing infrastructure elements.
Implementing this into practice, the Umbria Network has integrated a cross-chain bridge into the network titled Narni and reported capabilities to reduce transaction fees by up to 90% compared to the existing Avalanche bridge.
Alongside this, Umbria has circulated claims suggesting that the service can lower the barrier of entry for retail market newcomers through its utilization of single-sized liquidity pools and lesser complex mathematical algorithms.
Cointelegraph spoke exclusively to Barney Chambers, co-founder and co-lead developer of Umbria, about the specific reasoning behind choosing Avalanche as a home for the project and whether the ambition for economic accessibility drove the decision.
“Umbria is acting as the glue between all of the layer-1 and layer-2 blockchains, enabling users to move their assets in a cheap and timely manner. At Umbria, we envision that, in the future, users will not even need to know what blockchain they are using.”
Analytical data reveals that DeFi’s total value slightly decreased by 6.2% across the week to a figure of $116.78 billion.
Convex Finance (CVX) was the solitary riser this week with 8.75% following a market-wide decrease in the latter half of the week.
Interviews, features and other cool stuff
Thanks for reading our summary of this week’s most impactful DeFi developments. Join us again next Friday for more stories, insights and education in this dynamically advancing space.