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8 Projects Securing Web3 with Verified Data in 2024

With every passing year, new blockchain use cases come to the fore as forward-looking entrepreneurs and hard-working builders explore the depths of the core technology in novel ways. One recurring narrative that has evolved over a longer period relates to trust-minimized innovation, verifiability, and the shift away from centralized points of failure, which have historically been critical vulnerabilities in the ecosystem, leading to some of its largest hacks.

While just about everyone in Web3 supports the oft-cited mantra “Don’t Trust, Verify”, there are many different technological approaches to achieving this aim, from Zero-Knowledge Proofs (ZKPs) and homomorphic encryption to light clients and Account Abstraction. These approaches are instrumental in building investor confidence by providing a stable and transparent market environment.

Here, we spotlight eight projects shaping Decentralized Verifiability in 2024, each uniquely advancing the efficiency and security of Web3. 

1. Stateless 

A member of Polygon Labs’ Solution Providers Network (SPN), Stateless specializes in minimizing risk and maximizing resilience for decentralized applications (dApps). How, exactly? Via verifiable blockchain execution APIs of course, which grant customizable access to auditable clients via a federated node network. 

Stateless’ sophisticated, trust-minimized infrastructure enables consistent accuracy and uptime, while third-party services (like indexing) can also be integrated alongside any on- or off-chain decentralized data sources. Supported networks, meanwhile, include Ethereum, Polygon, Arbitrum, Optimism and Base. Currently building its very own peer-to-peer network, Stateless’ API middleware is available in beta.

2. Laconic

A next-generation data availability and verifiability layer, Laconic’s goal is simple: to guarantee that decentralized off-chain caches can serve blockchain data while also ensuring the integrity of that data across transformations. By leveraging the Interplanetary Linked Data (IPLD) protocol, Laconic effectively caches blockchain data in a decentralized manner while assuring the verifiability of the transformed information. The net result is that devs get to build freely without needing to depend on inefficient trust-based data providers. 

Developed over five years by core Ethereum, IPLD/IPFS, and Cosmos SDK contributors, Laconic benefits from wide geographic distribution of member validators, a fact it says “strengthens the network’s resilience to nation-specific sanctions.”

3. Space and Time

Space and Time is a decentralized data warehouse that utilizes both blockchain and AI to power sub-second queries and enterprise-scale analytics. By connecting tamperproof on- and off-chain data, the Microsoft-affiliated platform – which calls itself a “verifiable compute layer for Web3” – seeks to power the next generation of smart contract use cases. 

One of Space and Time’s most notable innovations is Proof of SQL, a novel ZK proof that cryptographically proves query computation was completed accurately – and that neither the query nor the data were altered.

4. RISC Zero

RISC Zero is a zero-knowledge verifiable general computing platform based on zk-STARKs and the RISC-V microarchitecture. Founded in 2021, the startup raised $40 million two years later in a round led by Blockchain Capital, bringing its VC war chest past the $50 million mark. If this doesn’t convince you of the general trend towards decentralized verifiability, nothing will.

Effectively, RISC Zero enables programmers who aren’t cryptography specialists to spin up ZK proofs without much difficulty. Bonsai is the company’s decentralized proving engine, while its own zkVM lets users prove correct execution of arbitrary Rust code.

5. Fireblocks

Fireblocks is an enterprise-grade platform that delivers infrastructure for moving, storing and issuing cryptocurrencies. While its product suite is extensive, comprising elements like wallet-as-a-service, staking and security, last year’s appointment of Peter Marton as Director of Digital Identity was a statement of intent as far as verifiability was concerned. In addition to Marton, Fireblocks also brought cryptography expert Chaitanya Reddy Konda onboard as the Senior Technical Product Manager of its Digital Identity and Privacy division.

The Fireblocks team is currently hard at work developing an on-chain identity and programmable compliance solution that upholds the company’s commitment to satisfying financial regulators.

6. a16z/Helios

Smart contract platform Helios was unveiled in late 2022 by Web3 VC bellwether a16z Crypto. In essence, it’s a Rust-based Ethereum light client that grants trustless connectivity to the Ethereum network. Transforming data from an untrusted centralized RPC provider into a provably safe, local RPC, Helios’ execution layer solves problems for those who value decentralized verifiability but aren’t necessarily geared up to run a full node.

Capable of synchronizing with Ethereum in just two seconds, Helios securely binds both its consensus mechanism and execution layer, meaning users need only install and operate a single piece of software.

7. EAS

EAS – or Ethereum Attestation Service to give its full title – is a ‘public good’ that enables attestations to be made on-chain and off. The open-source, permissionless platform has seen over 220,000 attestations made by a user base of 10,000+ to date, with some 2,400 schemas registered. All sorts of things can be verified by EAS, not just identities: asset ownership, reputation, credentials, eligibility, even the provenance of a precious antique. There’s also a handy Scanner, akin to a block explorer that lets users view registered schemas and attestations. 

Intended to be the foundational, community-led base layer for the attestation ecosystem, EAS’s mission is to “create a more trustful and transparent world.” How nice of them!

8. Mina Protocol

The Layer-1 Mina Protocol employs ZKPs and ZK-powered smart contracts to help devs spin up privacy-enabled apps that verify information without exposing the underlying data. Professing to be the world’s lightest blockchain, Mina aims to erect a private gateway between the real world and crypto, something it hopes to achieve through three main use cases: end-to-end data privacy, permissionless web oracles, and one private internet login.

Mina recently completed an important phase in its 2024 roadmap (Network Performance Testing) as it builds towards its highly anticipated Berkeley mainnet Upgrade.

With so many bright minds working at the future of Decentralized Verifiability, it’s little wonder the topic’s trending in the early days of 2024. The question now is which platform will win the hearts and minds of users keen to Verify, not Trust. 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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