The TEA Project Secures Second Funding Round to Build Web3 Decentralized Computing
To further their aim of becoming the full-speed infrastructure provider for emerging Web3 dApps, the TEA Project has just raised $1.3 million in its latest funding round to finally bring full-speed decentralized computing to the blockchain. Draper Dragon led the latest round which also included JDI Global and builds on the investments made by investors in the earlier seed round. The seed round investors include Hashkey, Youbi, Rebase, Waterdrip, and Polkaworld_Sub0.
Kevin Zhang, the founder and lead engineer for the TEA Project, initially entered the blockchain space in 2017 seeking a trusted solution to safeguard private medical data. His research led him to use hardware modules to ensure data privacy, evolving from CPU-focused trusted computing to the current iteration, which uses hardware security modules. These modules allowed the TEA Project to add a second root of trust (hardware) to the traditional blockchain roots of trust (consensus and cryptography).
Along the way, Kevin’s research unearthed a new root of trust: time. The use of trusted time (from GPS satellites) made it possible for TEA’s layer 2 nodes to reach a consensus without doing it the traditional blockchain way.
In a recent comprehensive overview of Web3, the TEA Project’s founder Kevin Zhang got into an interesting discussion with the author. Kevin took exception to the over-emphasis on smart contracts when people talk about Web 3. The discussion is a reminder of how the actual infrastructure of Web3 is still up in the air and ripe for disruption.
The TEA Project is a Web3 infrastructure project that’s looking to pioneer a new era of dApps that will require more computing power than is available with smart contracts. This would mean full-speed decentralized apps that can compete with the speed and feature set of traditional cloud apps. Given the constraints of blockchain, there appears to be practical limitations preventing blockchain-baseed dApps from competing with their cloud counterparts.
The TEA Project’s Two Layers: an Adaptable Layer 1 + a Fast Layer 2
The TEA Project’s most revolutionary innovation involves separating its compute execution layer (layer 2) from the underlying layer (layer 1) that vouches for the trustability of layer 2 nodes. A significant departure from other projects is that TEA’s layer 2 has no consensus and, therefore, no blocks. Keeping consensus out of the execution layer allows dApps on TEA’s layer 2 to run at full speed. Other projects who try to push blockchain to its TPS limits will still be hampered by blockchain consensus. Instead, the TEA Project focuses on a layer 2 that’s radically different as having no consensus means it has no TPS limitations.
To expedite the portability of its dual-layer solution, the TEA Project development team has been progressively moving more of the core logic from its layer 1 to layer 2. The impetus behind this strategy is simple: the less business logic there is to run on layer 1, the easier it is for TEA’s layer 2 to become a middleware layer for other projects. A portion of the TEA Project’s latest funding round will go towards hiring more developers to speed up development towards future integrations.
TEA’s Compute Layer Can Work With Any Underlying Blockchain
The TEA Project has focused on shrinking the size of its layer 1 in an effort to make portability to other blockchains as straightforward as possible. By making it easier to integrate TEA’s layer 2 with many layer 1s, the TEA Project allows its layer 2 to run on top of potentially any blockchain project. This strategic design allows TEA’s layer 1 to integrate with a wide range of existing layer 1s without requiring them to be EVM-compatible. This is an incredible development as TEA’s layer 2 introduces an entirely new compute layer for existing blockchain apps.
To see what the TEA Project’s layer 2 compute layer can bring to a blockchain project, let’s imagine a dApp on an existing blockchain that’s looking to add new features. If an existing dApp wants to add more functionality, they currently only have a few choices.
1. Work within the limitations of smart contracts when adding new functionality
One of the reasons a project like Solana has become so popular is that it adds throughput while staying within the smart contract paradigm. A dApp can execute faster when making the jump to a high-TPS blockchain like Solana but will not be able to add any functionality beyond the limitations of smart contracts.
2. Farm out the computing tasks to centralized computing
If a blockchain project involves immersive gaming or an NFT music project wants to integrate a media player, the only practical solution right now is for dApps to use centralized cloud computing for those components. The tragedy of this approach is that these end up becoming “hybrid” dApps, what we could term Web 2.5 dApps that lack full decentralization.
The TEA Project’s Value to the Polkadot Ecosystem
If a parachain could offer a fully decentralized computing layer, then Polkadot itself would become a fully…
The TEA Project is Developer Focused
There are many benefits for developers to build their dApps on the TEA Project platform. This is by design as the TEA Project has been developer focused from the start, with such benefits as:
- A developer can use many popular programming languages and isn’t forced to learn blockchain concepts, smart contracts, or any other new programming languages.
- Developers can build using the familiar three-tier architecture similar to cloud computing that developers already know, including a database tier. This makes the TEA Project an ideal onboarding portal for developers new to Web3.
- TEA provides a unified development framework for Web3. One of the reasons why we’ve seen so few truly decentralized apps is that there hasn’t been any good developer frameworks released yet for Web3. Just as Rails unlocked Web 2.0, we envision the TEA Project doing the same for Web3.
The TEA Project allows dApps to run at cloud computing speeds without the limitations of cloud computing. It includes a tech stack that’s 100% decentralized and protects user privacy. The TEA Project provides a Web3 development framework that will make building dApps much quicker for developers. Our goal is to be the primary compute infrastructure for the emerging Web3 ecosystem.