Sophon ZKSync hyperchain raises $60M in node sale

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Sophon, an entertainment-focused zkSync Hyperchain, has secured $60 million worth of Wrapped Ether (wETH) through its node sale.

The funding will be used to launch Sophon, an artificial intelligence (AI) and gaming-focused ecosystem built as a modular rollup leveraging zero knowledge (ZK) technology, aiming to launch in the third quarter of 2024.

The $60 million node sale is considered high for an emerging project. Part of the node sale’s success can be attributed to the need for reliable infrastructure for entertainment-focused use cases such as gaming and AI, according to Seb, the co-founder of Sophon.

Seb told Cointelegraph:

“Gaming and AI require their tech partners to be able to scale cheaply and with robust infrastructure. Choosing ZK tech here is the move that these folks are making since the TPS capacity is much larger than within optimistic setups, and especially within the zkSync codebase, the fees are much less dynamic — therefore gas does not fluctuate as much.”

Both gaming and AI protocols are reliant on robust infrastructure to accommodate user demand and the high amount of microtransactions associated with these use cases. Seb added:

“Gaming or AI protocols generate millions of transactions, and running a zkEVM [zkEthereum Virtual Machine] in Validium mode guarantees the lowest fees as well as the most scalable infra, which doesn’t rupture when there are network surges.”

The node sale offered a total of 200,000 nodes for purchase and came in addition to Sophon’s recent $10 million funding round led by prominent investors, including Paper Ventures and Maven 11, with participation from Spartan, SevenX and OKX Ventures.

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Incoming airdrops for Sophon node holders

Beyond just raising capital, the recent node sales aimed to create a foundational community of holders that can expect airdrops and other valuable rewards in the future. Seb explained:

“The node sale is essentially creating a bag holder OG community of thousands of folks before we even launch the chain. We will strive to always deliver value to them, constantly in the forms of emission fees, airdrops and other projects.”

Airdrops are a popular way to attract new users to early-stage decentralized finance (DeFI) protocols. It involves issuing new tokens to early users who previously interacted with a protocol.

Through its future incentives, Sophon aims to build a strong community of builders and enthusiasts, that could amplify the network effects of projects building on the protocol. Seb added:

“This is incredibly valuable and super attractive to builders. This accelerates a very positive flywheel effect that will grow the community and hence make it valuable for gaming or AI projects to pick Sophon over the other options.”

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