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CyberConnect raises $15M Series A to put data back in the hands of users – TechCrunch

One of the promises made by web3 entrepreneurs is to put data back in the hands of owners through decentralization. Singapore-based CyberConnect is one of a handful of blockchain startups working to realize this vision, and it recently closed a Series A funding round totaling $15 million.

The round’s lead co-investor is Animoca Brands, the Hong Kong-based company that has grown in recent years from a game development outsider to a web3 investment juggernaut. The other co-investor is Sky9 Capital, a Shanghai-based venture capital firm founded by Ron Cao, known for helping Lightspeed Venture Partners set up shop in China at the time.

“In Web2, companies with the largest social network own users’ social graphs and build walls around them to stem competition and advance corporate interests,” said Wilson Wei, CEO and co-founder of Cyber ​​Connect.

As such, Wei and his team are building a social graph “protocol”, the underlying rules that allow data to be shared between computers, for applications and in the case of web3, without a centralized agent like Facebook. The end goal is for users to browse Web3 platforms with their subscribers and subscribers.

An app experience powered by CyberConnect will look like this: users connect their crypto wallet – which has become a universal gateway to any Web3 app – to a social platform, where all of their existing logins will be displayed. They will get addresses of recommended users to follow, based on CyberConnect’s indexing. Once they follow someone, that information will be added to CyberConnect’s network and become “portable and self-contained”.

To date, CyberConnect has supported 23 projects, including Project Galaxy and Mask Network, reaching a total of 710,000 users.

Other companies are building similar infrastructure to enable tracker interoperability, such as Lens, which is operated by Aave, a decentralized lending protocol backed by Blockchain Capital.

CyberConnect’s solution, Wei tells TechCrunch, consists of two components. Similar to Lens, it offers a software development kit (SDK), software for developers to create custom apps that allow end users to manage their social graphs, and a “social data network” that aggregates user behavior on the Web3, like what tokens and NFTs they bought.

Rather than using smart contracts like Lens, CyberConnect’s SDK is built on InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), a peer-to-peer data storage and sharing network, and Ceramic, a network that manages editable data without servers. centralized, which, according to Wei, is a more “economical and gas-saving solution.” Smart contracts are computer programs that automatically execute according to the terms of contracts and incur “gas fees”, the payments made by users to offset the computing power required to process transactions.

“Smart contract-based protocols create value from scarce elements, while all data stored on-chain costs a sizable amount of gas fees. There are only 10,000 NFTs in a collection and a limited amount of bitcoins,” Wei explains.

“In contrast, the social context welcomes the abundance of data. There is only an ever-increasing number of new users, new connections and new content and this data will be dynamic in nature and will require constant updates.

CyberConnect plans to generate revenue through the social data network, which includes different participants such as data contributors, indexers and recommenders, curators and users. The network will be permissionless, meaning anyone can join, and will include incentive mechanisms revolving around request fees, according to Wei.

The startup, headquartered in Palo Alto, operates with a team of 27 people in the United States, China, Canada and Europe.

Several venture capital firms, including Dragonfly, have recently warned web3 startups to prepare for an industry chill following the recent crypto market crash and broader macro complicity. Wei is undeterred, saying “bear markets are the perfect time to focus on building.”

“As a serial entrepreneurial team, with over seven years of experience in social media, Web3 and blockchain, previous experiences have taught us that it’s crucial to keep building during downturns” , he said. “It will also be easier for truly visionary and value-creating projects to be properly recognized, as the noise will die down with the market hype.”

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