A Push for Decentralization: Puffer Finance Raises $5.5M to Redefine Liquid ETH Staking
Announcing our $5.5M Seed Round
Following Ethereum’s transition to proof of stake, centralizing forces have continued to outpace the growth of decentralized LSPs, posing a threat to Ethereum’s consensus. As an Ethereum-aligned liquid staking protocol, Puffer’s goal is to ensure that Ethereum’s decentralization and credible neutrality continue flourishing.
However, for decentralization to improve, it is essential to increase the economic viability of home stakers. Puffer is developing a protocol to level the playing field by mitigating the risks tied to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) operations with our anti-slashing technology, lowering the bond requirement to increase participation, and by increasing rewards opportunities through unique restaking services built on Eigenlayer. Through Puffer, home stakers can join with as little as 2 ETH to become a core part of web3’s infrastructure, allowing them to earn while contributing to the decentralization of the network.
In early May, we open-sourced Secure-Signer, our first public good designed to prevent Ethereum validators from committing slashable offenses. Our technology enables this by using a secure enclave to limit access to validator keys in order to mitigate the effects of software bugs and user errors while protecting them from costly penalties that disproportionately impact home stakers.
Initially, the development of Secure-Signer was bootstrapped by a grant from the Ethereum Foundation, totaling $138K.
To expand on the development of our anti-slashing technology, we have secured $5.5M in additional funding in a seed round to fulfill our vision and define an industry-wide standard for secure validator operations. Our seed round was co-led by Lemniscap and Lightspeed Faction and included other value-aligned participants who share our vision for anti-slashing technology, such as Brevan Howard Digital, Bankless Ventures, Animoca Ventures, and DACM, and community funds such as 33DAO, WAGMI33, and Concave.
Additionally, we received support from ecosystem researchers and thought leaders, including Sreeram Kannan and Calvin Liu from Eigen Layer, Mrblock from Curve, Frederick Allen from Coinbase Institutional, Anand Iyer from Canonical Ventures, DiscusFish, Ramble, Ladislaus, and Richard Malone from Obol Labs who participated in our seed round as Angel Investors.
For more information on Puffer’s open-source anti-slashing technology, check out our Secure-Signer documentation.
Commenting on the announcement, Amir Forouzani, and Jason Vranek, Founders of Puffer Finance, said: “The rapid advancements in infrastructure and user experience have primed Ethereum for mass adoption. As this era ushers in new centralization pressures, preserving Ethereum’s core values becomes increasingly essential. We hope the Puffer Protocol will create a pocket within the validator set where decentralization can thrive. By lowering barriers to entry, anyone can run a Puffer Node from their home to operate Web3 infrastructure and play a pivotal role in shaping a Web3 that is resilient and censorship-resistant. We want to express our utmost gratitude to our investors for their trust, support, and partnership. Together and with our community, we will build a flourishing ecosystem true to the values that made Ethereum so special.”
Justin Drake, Researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, said: “Validator operators should consider Puffer’s SGX-based secure signer — at least until we get one-shot signatures. Zooming out, enclaves are a great way to incrementally improve security whenever pure cryptoeconomic defences fall short.”
Full investor list:
About Puffer Finance:
Puffer is defining a new industry standard for secure validator operations with the primary objective of preserving decentralization. Puffer’s Anti-Slashing technologies are designed to minimize the chance of slashing events. Our Secure-Signer technology is released as a public good to help protect solo stakers and the wider staking industry from correlated slashing penalties. Our Secure-Aggregator technology provides the foundation to build a secure, scalable, and performant liquid staking protocol. Allowing permissionless and capital-efficient Node Operator participation allows anyone to join the PufferPool to help preserve Ethereum’s decentralization. Learn more: www.puffer.fi