Cumberland Labs, the incubator arm of Chicago-based crypto trading company Cumberland, has introduced a beta version of a new API tool aimed at streamlining the process of connecting to blockchain and decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols. The tool called expand.network, was developed in response to Cumberland’s challenges in connecting to various protocols manually.
Cumberland wants to achieve blockchain connectivity
Traditionally, Cumberland’s trading unit, a subsidiary of DRW Holdings LCC, had to invest significant time in connecting to different protocols individually. However, the company was unable to find an existing tool that could simplify this process. Consequently, they decided to develop their API service, utilizing their internal team of developers and engineers from Cumberland Labs. The tool has undergone testing since November and is now available to the public in beta.
An API, or application programming interface, is a means by which different types of programming can communicate with one another. Cumberland Labs recognized the need for a tool similar to the ccxt library used for centralized exchanges, which could connect to any DeFi protocol or blockchain. The absence of such a tool prompted the development of expand.network.
The newly launched solution provides both read and write connectivity to major public blockchains and DeFi protocols, facilitating interaction across multiple protocol APIs and software development kits (SDKs). The startup, called a Web3 company, aims to address the issue of inefficiency in cross-chain communication, though it differentiates itself from cross-chain solutions. According to Demetrios Skalkotos, the CEO of expand.network, while these two concepts may appear similar, they serve distinct purposes. While cross-chain solutions primarily focus on facilitating the transfer of messages and tokens between different chains, expand.network offers a more comprehensive and versatile solution by providing connectivity to chains and protocols across the DeFi landscape.
The network wants to address deficiencies in blockchain connectivity
The expand.network tool supports Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible chains such as Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Avalanche, Polygon, Cronos, Arbitrum, and Optimism. Additionally, it extends support to non-EVM-compatible chains like Solana, Tron, NEAR, and Algorand. The platform also has plans to include support for Aptos, Sui, Lido, LayerZero, and StarkNet in the future.
Cumberland Labs spearheaded the conception and development of the platform, providing funding, resources, and consulting expertise. Should market conditions permit, the startup intends to seek funding later this year, primarily targeting crypto seed and series A technology infrastructure investors, along with potential strategic investors.
As the cryptocurrency space continues to evolve, more capital is being directed toward developer-oriented solutions and interoperability. Notably, LayerZero Labs, a cross-chain messaging protocol developer, raised $120 million in April to expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, following a previous funding round of $135 million in March 2022. Cumberland Labs’ launch of expand.network represents a step forward in simplifying blockchain connectivity, empowering developers to navigate the DeFi landscape more efficiently and effectively.