Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator: 2022 Cohort Announcement and Ecosystem News
Having solidified itself as the premier university blockchain accelerator in the United States - with 65 alumni teams securing over $400M in follow-on funding - UC Berkeley’s Blockchain Xcelerator is proud to announce its fifth cohort. Of note is that 3 of the 20 teams are led by Berkeley students or alumni, several are in the sustainability space, one is led by a US military veteran, and several are led by underrepresented founders!
The program received over 300 applications for 20 available spots, making this selection process the most competitive to date! Please read on for more details and visit our website for more insight on our Xcelerator.
The teams are:
AlfredPay is a remittance platform for Latin America, created to provide a convenient and affordable way for users to send and receive money. We partner with regulated financial institutions and cash networks to provide instant access to local currency or dollars in exchange for USDC.
The post-covid digitization trend has forced music and fashion brands to look for new monetization options. Anifie helps music and fashion brands to create, sell, and enhance the value of NFTs with our proprietary software. We enable brands to sell their content IP as NFT’s. With the sales proceeds, our customers hold events on our metaverse- making the community stronger and thus strengthening the NFTs.
Anorra is a Free-to-Play mobile browser-based MMO, built with the Unreal Engine on the Solana Blockchain. Anorra is an accessible, fun, and simplified way to participate in DeFi. Our goal is to expand access to DeFi adoption for a diverse demographic through an epic game, or GameFi. We are particularly interested in breaking barriers to this space and simplifying the complex nature of Web3 to provide a service accessible and user friendly for all.
With Oasis Network’s unique privacy-preserving blockchain computing technology, we built the first “bridge” that can stream data value from Web 2.0 onto Web 3.0 as well as the emerging Metaverse. It brings an extended paradigm to the current Web 3.0. The core of this bridge is a user’s controlled Web 3.0+ identity called MBuddy.
Users are in independent control of their own data assets and use them to serve their own interests, which may be monetary, social, or otherwise as the demand for data insights rises. For example, a DAO may require its members to possess certain personal traits. Whereas such requirements are currently unfeasible to achieve, almost all requirements can be achieved under the MBuddy scheme. After pulling the required data, the user can initiate a confidential computation job to generate an authenticated personal trait for the user’s on-chain identity and acquire the DAO member role.
Avatree is “Headspace for Climate”, and our mission is to remove atmospheric carbon at scale. We sell NFTs of 3D trees that algorithmically grow when users purchase a monthly subscription of carbon sequestrations (we partner with carbon marketplaces to procure high-quality sequestrations).
Each month, the tree “fruits” cryptocurrency that can be used for rewards with brands. An Avatree is a badge of climate action on the internet and also grants the owner access to Avatribe, our community portal where they receive exclusive drops and experiences, and can connect with others passionate about creating a sustainable future.
Avem is a cross-chain DeFi infrastructure built on top of Polkadot as a Layer 1 Parachain, allowing for the trade and custody of Security and Utility Tokens.
In particular, our infrastructure has specific characteristics which gives us an advantage in comparison with the rest of the parachains as we are fully custom to the bankable world. We are planning to build a Non-Traceable Blockchain as large institutions like to move money around without feeling watched by the rest of the community. Our blockchain will be regulated with KYC and KYB (Zero Knowledge Proof), to make this mixing of money between institutions and retail a reality.
Bitgreen seeks to finance real world assets and impactful projects related to conservation, clean energy, and social enterprise. Investors will be able to identify compelling projects as well as syndications and invest cryptocurrency which thereafter mints fungible tokens from these issuances to be held or transacted on a native CEX.
Campground is modern media infrastructure for content creation, curation and monetization. We’ve developed an innovative tool for creators to build multi-media content tours called Trails with attached community audio spaces, then mint and sell their Trails as NFT access tokens to effectively monetize content value and engage their audiences. Campground is powered by Emoji Protocol and $EMOJI token, an underlying token system that gamifies reactions in an “emotion prediction market” and decentralizes content quality validation through an Expert review network. Emoji is designed to eventually expand as an interoperable layer and plug into all content/media platforms generally as a powerful user engagement lever.
Curio is an on-chain RTS game. Players harvest resources, build bases and defenses, command armies, and capture one another’s towers in a rich 2D world, similar to Sid Meier’s Civilization and Markus Persson’s MiniCraft. Unlike crypto games focused on on-chain assets, Curio stores all game logic and state changes on the blockchain, replacing the traditional game server. As a result, game instances are not only fully transparent, but also open to “modding” — any player can interact with and enrich the core game logic via smart contracts.
Traditional gaming often has long development cycles, low player engagement, and cheating. At Curio, we leverage blockchain as a natural legitimacy layer to promote user-generated content. We aim to convert the walled garden of gaming into an open world where anyone can participate and be fairly rewarded for contribution. We see it as a continuation from the long history of “power to the player” experiments such as Steam mods, Minecraft, and Roblox, where players take greater part in shaping the virtual worlds they value.
Dtravel is a native web3 travel ecosystem that provides property hosts and hospitality entrepreneurs with the infrastructure to accept on-chain bookings. This new web3 ecosystem blends the freedom of direct booking sites and the simplicity of online travel agencies, offering unrivaled ownership and control over the entire booking process.
Instead of relying on intermediaries — who often charge exorbitant fees and have prohibitory policies — to facilitate transactions, Dtravel hosts and guests transact directly with one another. This peer-to-peer system enables hosts to set their own booking terms, freely determine the content they display and retain a significantly greater portion of their earnings.
Fairmint makes community ownership easy. Founders launch Fairmint’s decentralized portal on their website, allowing contributors to receive tokenized equity in exchange for time or money they invest. Built by founders for founders, our technology leverages blockchain and smart contracts to make equity programmable. Fairmint is the Web3 layer of the modern startup stack, empowering participation in the ownership economy.
MetaEngine provides a platform for interoperability of assets between metaverses. More than 30 million active players on the platform make it a one-of-a-kind solution, offering the gaming developer community a complete power-packed set of the most advanced features developed over the blockchain.
Moon is a crypto challenger bank and BaaS platform uniquely suited to enable Bitcoiners, crypto natives, and the un/underbanked to live on crypto. Moon’s privacy preserving technology allows them to provide bank-like services without requiring KYC, upholding the core values of the bitcoin and broader crypto community, and serving the least fortunate among us — the billions of globally un/underbanked who are excluded from the modern financial system.
Muusic is enabling anyone to own and invest in their favorite music. We’re changing the way recorded music is valued by creating an open marketplace for digital records, handling everything from metadata standardization to trust-less infrastructure for multi-party royalty payouts.
With Muusic, anyone confident about the next big thing can start their own record label and invest in their favorite artists. We are disrupting the music industry, which functions on excessive legal overhead and coordination between middle men that costs artists the vast majority of their revenue, by building the infrastructure, tools, and technologies required for an artist to live out their entire career on-chain.
Nil DAO is an NFT marketplace running on Arbitrum (L2), with an integrated launchpad for generative Artists.
Nil DAO V2 is launching soon! It is an NFT marketplace running on Arbitrum (L2), with an integrated launchpad for generative Artists. With Nil V2, anyone can list their art and collect from others, for a fraction of Ethereum L1 gas fees, with new features and great UI/UX. Generative artists can drop their art autonomously for the first time in the NFT space, with a launchpad making it as easy as listing any other NFT.
OAK (On-chain Autonomous Kernel) Network is an automation blockchain for Defi and recurring payments. Our mission is to build a Stripe for Web 3.0 across protocols. The blockchain is built on Parity Substrate with an event-driven execution model. Differing from Ethereum’s transaction-based model, where a transaction requires private key signing, OAK allows transactions to be triggered by event signals such as time, price, and smart contract state changes.
OAK Network aims to be the primary utility Layer-2 across protocols, offering on-chain automation not possible today, such as limit & stop-loss orders on Automated-Market-Making DEX and recurring payments. With OAK’s on-chain finality and network security, it can empower any blockchain with its autonomous functionality, unleashing endless product potentials.
Overnight is the protocol behind USD+ yield generating stablecoin. It is fully backed by DeFi yield-generating stablecoin assets- best used for stablecoin liquidity management by individuals and treasuries, capital efficiency in liquidity pools, and as collateral for leveraged yield farming.
Pendulum’s vision is to build the missing link between fiat and DeFi through a fiat-optimized smart contract blockchain. Allowing traditional finance services like forex, trade financing or savings accounts to seamlessly integrate with DeFi applications such as specialized forex AMMs, lending protocols or yield farming opportunities. Through this connection, Pendulum brings deep liquidity into the DeFi ecosystem and in return enables efficiency gains, maximized interoperability and fully automated 24/7 operations for traditional finance services.
Based on the Substrate framework, Pendulum aims to become a Polkadot parachain for maximum security and interoperability. Custom-built trustless bridges will connect it to other major DeFi or payments ecosystems such as Ethereum, Cosmos and Stellar.
Rampp creates all the no-code tools a creator or community manager would ever need to launch and scale an NFT project without writing any code. From IPFS, to contract, to mint and beyond, Rampp does it all. As Web3 evolves, Rampp will always be there to provide a no-code solution to break down the technical and cost barriers for those looking to explore, experiment, and build in Web3.
ViteX is a high-performance order-book DEX (Android, iOS, web app) that matches centralized exchanges in user experience, but exceeds them in security. The DEX allows cross-chain trading of 60+ coins, driven by community-run operators (listing coins in a permissionless manner), soon to be upgraded to community-managed trustless bridges. ViteX is built on the Vite chain, a lightning-fast blockchain where transactions incur zero gas fees.
Traders on ViteX are rewarded VX tokens, which entitle stakers to distribution from the DEX’s pool of income. VX tokens had no pre-mine, no private/pre/public sale, and can only be obtained via mining methods including trading and liquidity-mining. Our next milestones include conversion of gateways to bridges, continual onboarding of community operators via various sponsorship programs, development of AMMs to boost liquidity, and growing the overall Vite ecosystem to bring more users.
Acala & parachain partners launch $250M ecosystem fund
Acala (Spring 2020)- in tandem with nine other parachain teams and the support of a group of venture funds- has launched a $250M aUSD fund aimed at supporting early-stage startups on any Polkadot or Kusama parachain. Find more information about this exciting opportunity and apply to the fund here.
Eluv.io presents Dolly Parton at SXSW, drops album-as NFT
This year’s iteration of SXSW saw Dolly Parton’s first-ever performance at the festival, introducing her new album “Run, Rose, Run” as an exclusive NFT drop- streamed and powered by Eluv.io (Spring 2021). Check out the Dollyverse here!
Oasis announces $200K Bloom Hackathon
Make your mark in the Web3 movement and build on the Oasis Network. Oasis announced the $200,000 Oasis Bloom Hackathon, with the support of Jump Crypto, Newman Capital, Neo Global Capital, and Hashed. We are looking for the brightest and boldest developers to build a DeFi 2.0 or P2E Gaming DApp on Oasis Emerald, the EVM Compatible ParaTime. In return, you will be rewarded with support, $200,000 in prizes, an exclusive NFT and access to the $200 Million Oasis Ecosystem fund.
Automata begins strategic partnership with Binance Labs
Automata Network (2021) has welcomed a strategic investment from Binance Labs! From Bill Chin, the head of the Binance Labs Fund:
“Automata Network hits the mark with its intuitive understanding of how a fair Web3 derives from the systemic benefits of privacy. Binance Labs looks forward to bringing Web3, especially middleware services, as Automata is building in the area to the next level.”
Astar’s incubation program receives support from Microsoft
Astar Network’s(Spring 2020) Incubation Program has received backing from Microsoft in its efforts to support entrepreneurs in new sectors of the Web3 space. From the joint announcement:
Selected technology projects will have exclusive access to Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub, which removes traditional barriers to building a company with free access to the technology, coaching, and support. Founders will receive guidance from mentors in every field, from technology to go-to-market strategy, and gain access to capital investment. Incubated projects will become ready to onboard potential business customers and maximize market influence with Microsoft’s support from day 1. Microsoft also provides selected startups with up to $350,000 worth of benefits through Github Enterprise, Microsoft Teams, and Azure credits (up to $150K/ 4 years).
Berkeley’s Center for Responsible, Decentralized Intelligence (RDI) launches Future of DeFi Fireside Chats Podcast — Season 1
In case you missed the DeFi MOOC Future of DeFi Firesides on YouTube, you can now listen to them anytime on the new RDI Podcast channel. Hear the first episode here, with more to be released weekly. This first episode is a conversation between RDI Director Dawn Song, co-host Arthur Gervais (Imperial) and Michael Egorov- CEO and Founder of Curve Finance. Curve Finance is a decentralized exchange and currently the DeFi dApp with the highest TVL, over $20B in TVL. In this conversation, Michael shares unique designs of Curve including its strong support for multiple chains, its mission to maintain a noncustodial DAO, its biggest crisis to date, and other valuable insights for DeFi and entrepreneurship. Stay tuned for more episodes!