Community Update: Virtual Labs in 2023
A Year of Fast-Paced Progress in Review
José.Virtual | Dec 20, 2023
In January of 2023, Virtual Labs had 2 team members, 400 Discord members and under a thousand Twitter followers (the app was still called that back then), and $0 in funding.
Today in December, we employed 12 team members, expanded our community to 5402 on Discord on and 7,646 on X, and raised $1.3 Million in our Pre-Seed round. That’s a 6X, 7X, 13X, and ∞ X.
It’s therefore accurate to say that Virtual’s progress in 2023 was literally too large to be measurable.
2023 began with a system of testnet alphas focused on verifiable random number generation. From January to March, users generated a million verifiably random numbers. Following our successful pre-seed round in May, we greatly expanded our vision to Streamlining Web3 UX Through ZK State Channels, and launched a new testnet in October.
This testnet, the Virtual Wallet Alpha, closed today. This is in preparation for the long-awaited Virtual Wallet Beta, which will incorporate all of the feedback and bug discoveries from the Alpha!
15,000 early Virtualizers earned over 1,200,000 $VRTL in this period!
Venture Capital Round
Virtual Labs raised $1.3 Million from OP Crypto, Byzantine Marine, Koyamaki Ventures, and significant angels. This investment validates our mission and will allow us to accelerate development into our category-defining ZK State Channels.
Virtual Labs theorized the possibility of dynamic, multi-party channels in May of 2023. These ZK State Channels are distinct from other theorized models as they allowed new users to join without requiring the creation of a new channel. This was previously considered impossible, as older state channels require that existing channels be shut down and replaced with another channel that included the new user, otherwise doublespend was possible.
By July, we developed a framework and wrote a paper proving that this was, in fact, possible. This ZK State Channel allowed for an unbounded user base to complete an unlimited amount of transactions with zero-gas and zero-latency.
In Q3 and Q4, we performed more customer interviews and developed new use cases for the Virtual Engine, our ZK State Channel, including seamless cross-chain bridging and automatic yield. As of only a few weeks ago, we have running versions of both on testnet and are excited to share these advents with the world.
The most exciting development of our Virtual Labs’ first 12 months of existence is that there is substantial demand for ZK State Channels from games who seek to improve engagement and retention in their playerbases by eliminating gas and friction.
Beginning in October, Virtual has integrated binary betting platforms, casinos, FPS, trading card games, and more seeking to streamline their UX.
What many do not know is that all of this progress was made in spite of the Virtual Engine still being on testnet and the waiting period to get a spot in the Beta reaching 34 days at its longest point. The goal since and continuing into 2024 is to rectify these delays by increasing our technical capacity, but it is incredible to know that ZK State Channels have gone from a niche, technical fascinating to a real product with genuine utility.
Even more, ZK State Channels have garnered mainstream attention with even reputable firms discussing their possibilities (and mentioning us!)
I want to give a huge shout out to my team, technical and partnerships, for making this immense progress a reality! I am so thankful to have such high-agency builders who are obsessed with making our vision a reality. To 2024!
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