October 6, 2022

Announcing $8,900,000 Seed Round Led by FTX Ventures and Blockchange Ventures

Luke Lamey

We are excited to announce that Kwil has raised an $8,900,000 seed round co-led by FTX Ventures and Blockchange ventures to accelerate the Kwil network’s development and create permissionless databases that will power the next generation of the decentralized internet. Participants in the round included many leading Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 social, data, and venture organizations.

Why Permissionless Database?

Over the last 18 months, Web 3.0 has seen an evolution of nonfinancial applications. Whereas “Web 3.0” used to be synonymous with DeFi, the space has grown to include social, gaming, analytics, and science use cases. Projects like Mask Network, Space and Time, the DeSci Foundation, and many others have emerged to fully realize the decentralized web’s value.

With the rise of these new Web 3.0 verticals, there remains a significant lack of data storage and querying infrastructure. Web 2.0 is powered by robust data stores that enable complex data sets to be managed seamlessly. This functionality allows for high-performing user experiences (e.g., the ability to query a list of an artist’s songs at lightning speed) that has become an essential table stake for broad consumer adoption. In Web 3.0, such a solution simply does not exist. Blockchains such as Ethereum and Solana allow for basic key/value stores. Arweave and Filecoin act as high-capacity filesystems. These are all essential infrastructure elements that will power the future of the decentralized web; however, one critical infrastructure element remains unresolved: a solution for managing complex data structures in a permissionless environment.

Permissionless-ness is an essential feature for any Web 3.0 infrastructure solution, enabling users to plug seamlessly into applications and drive data composability. The world witnessed the power of permissionless data writes and composability through smart contracts. With smart contracts, developers can build with components that are open, modular, autonomous, and discoverable. Once a smart contract is deployed, anyone can read and write data permissionless-ly. Kwil is taking the same concepts of permissionless access and data composability and extending them to structured data, enabling the benefits of Web 3.0 to be realized beyond traditional key/value stores.

“Kwil is web3’s missing infrastructure layer. It enables the decentralization of the entire software stack, forging new possibilities for web3 consumer, data, and social applications.” — Brian Lee, Partner, FTX Ventures

Why Decentralized?

Beyond permissionless data writes and reads, a decentralized database enables tamper-proof data storage for developers to track data authenticity and provenance. In a decentralized database, users cannot tamper with stored data unless the nodes agree that the user has permission. Kwil’s data definition language (which will be included as part of Kwil v2) makes it seamless for application developers to create, provision, and revoke roles.

With the rise of massive data aggregation in Web 3.0, tracking data provenance and authenticity is critical. For example, the output of a blockchain oracle is only as valuable as the inputted data. If a blockchain oracle outputs invalid data, it must be able to locate and contain the source of the invalid data. This is to protect the integrity of the oracle and the blockchain that it serves data to. Data writers must sign each transaction in a decentralized database, which then gets ordered by the network before being executed on the database. This functionality allows DBAs to easily track and locate the provenance of data.

More writing on the value of a decentralized database can be found here.

Why SQL?

Structured Query Language (SQL) is the predominant database type in Web 2.0, making up 60–73% of databases in production. In order to onboard the next million developers in Web 3.0, engineers must use tools that feel similar to what they are used to. We started with building SQL compatibility because we want Kwil to be accessible to anyone — both developers familiar with Web 3.0 and developers looking to make the leap from Web 2.0.

Furthermore, when it comes to migrating databases, utilizing a SQL engine makes it easy for developers to port their applications from a centralized provider to a decentralized infrastructure. Using community-built tools such as the KwilDB CLI (or a future iteration for Kwil v2), developers can easily port their existing database from the current solution to Kwil and continue querying that data via the same SQL statements they have always used. Developers can unlock all the benefits of decentralized infrastructure without a massive learning curve or change to their existing skill sets.

Despite starting with SQL, Kwil is not permanently limited by database type. At its core, Kwil is a data synchronicity protocol that is currently built to support SQL engines; however, in the future, it will be possible to build in support for other database types, such as Graph/NoSQL databases. Kwil is flexible in responding and adapting to the demands of the market.

“Kwil’s ability to radically accelerate development times and enable data composability across Web3 can allow the protocol to become a key standard for decentralized data querying and storage. We’re thrilled to support the Kwil team as they bring this vision to life.” — Matt Beck, Director of Investments, DCG

What is next?

With the recent funding, Kwil will continue scaling up our team pushing forward to the future release of Kwil v2. The rollout will begin with closed testing with Kwil v1 clients, followed by a public release for open testing. The Kwil protocol will put in place the database infrastructure needed for the next generation of Web 3.0-enabled applications.

Are you a developer interested in contributing to Kwil? Or do you have a project that could benefit from using Kwil? Join our community here: https://discord.gg/dH6rVQvD

Are you interested in making the leap and building with KwilDB full-time? We are hiring! Open roles can be found here: https://kwil.com/careers.