Valory raises $4M to unlock software-driven autonomy for blockchain apps

Valory AG, the developer of autonomous software systems, said today that it has closed $4 million in seed funding to fill the gap in crypto infrastructure between decentralized Web3 apps and centralized services with the help of open-source tools.

True Ventures led the funding round with participation from Signature Ventures, Semantic Ventures, Prime Block Ventures, Proof Group and Atka.

Valory was launched in mid-2021 with the vision to realize the promise of crypto, enabling developers to build apps that take advantage of off-chain protocols – that is, data not recorded on the blockchain — through true autonomy, which means transparency and less human intervention.

That would be useful for groups known as decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs, which govern themselves using blockchain technology and smart contracts. Their objective is essentially to become crypto corporations or communities that work autonomously using blockchain technology for proposals, votes and other business operations. But DAOs that act as decentralized corporations face a problem: Not all of the information that they need for their day-to-day operations and apps exists on blockchains.

“Crypto infrastructure has some gaps,” Valory co-founder David Minarsch explained to SiliconANGLE in an interview. “You can either run things on-chain and get all the properties of being decentralized, or run certain actions off-chain, and some things must run off-chain. This causes a lot of fragility.”

For example, one might need to run a bot, a service, a database or something similar. Although a few of these exist as decentralized services, most data must be accessed externally from clouds or must run within centralized services. Blockchain smart contracts themselves are self-executing pieces of software capable of doing crypto transactions, but they can only trigger within blockchains and cannot reach out of them without third-party assistance.

What Valory does is offers a bot system software stack that Minarsch likens to a “Ruby-on-Rails for building autonomous services” for DAOs. It allows them to build the infrastructure quickly for the autonomous services that bridge these gaps.

For example, a developer could launch a decentralized swarm of bot agents using Valory’s open-source infrastructure protocol to create a service capable of replenishing the shelves of a wine store by making automated purchases. By connecting to the store inventory database and each different agent watching prices from different vendors, each bot could even come to a consensus on where to buy from based on predictive machine learning sales metrics.

To forward this mission, Valory launched Autonolas DAO, which provides the permissionless on-chain protocol that allows for securing and managing autonomous bot services. Valory is already in use by several projects, including Brahma and Postmint. Brahma, a decentralized finance protocol, is using the open-source stack to create bots as a way to decentralize its off-chain data operations.

In order to drive adoption in the Autonolas protocol and the Valory ecosystem, the company also hosts academies where developers can gain familiarity with the software stack and gain experience building autonomous bot systems. One project launched from these academies, El Collectooorr, is an autonomous nonfungible token art collecting bot system that intelligently collects NFTs for participants that fund it. It fractionalizes the artwork for the users so they can receive investment in the art that was collected by the system.

“What we are building here is a truly co-owned future of artificial intelligence, where AI isn’t owned by a few sets of billionaires,” said Minarch. “Instead, be it individuals, be it traditional businesses, even groups of businesses can co-own autonomous services and even one day more advanced forms of AI. That’s what we’re here for.”

Image: Nepool

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