Announcement

Announcing zkIgnite Cohort 1 Funded Projects & the Launch of Cohorts 2 & 3

Discover the 14 zkApp proposals and 12 Dev4Dev proposals funded by zkIgnite Cohort 1, and dive into the program's support and funding opportunities for builders and entrepreneurs on Mina Protocol with the launch of Cohort 2 and Cohort 3.

Intro

zkIgnite is a program designed to help developers and entrepreneurs turn their innovative ideas into real-world applications and build successful businesses on Mina Protocol. After last year’s Cohort 0 which awarded 20 operating oracles and 28 high-quality zkApps, the zkIgnite program was completely redesigned to give builders the support and resources they need to formulate a project proposal to pitch to the community for funding. 

After nearly eight weeks, Cohort 1 participants have demonstrated an impressive level of talent and dedication, notably bringing in 100+ zkApp proposals and 60+ Dev4Dev tooling proposals.

Judging Criteria

A group of 30 Electors from the community reviewed all of the proposals and voted on which projects will receive funding from the 500k USDC and 500k MINA Mina Foundation zkIgnite Cohort 1 grant pool. Electors used the following rubric to assess projects depending on the track they were on.

  zkApp Track Success Criteria   Dev4Dev Track Success Criteria

Business Potential: Does it have the potential to grow into a successful business on top of Mina Protocol?

Impact: Does the zkApp have the potential to benefit everyday users?

Clarify: Are the milestones clear and easy to assess?

Feasibility: Are the milestones feasible to be achieved with the current SnarkyJS functionality?

Innovation: Does the proposal provide new solutions? If not, how does it improve upon existing tools?

Dev Experience: How does this tool improve the overall experience for the devs building zkApps?

Scalability: Does the proposal have the capability to scale and accommodate all the zkApp Developers in the ecosystem?

Feasibility: Are the milestones feasible to be achieved with the current SnarkyJS functionality?

Funded zkApp Projects

We are excited to announce that the Electors have selected 14 zkApp proposals for a total of over 254K USDC and 152K MINA in funding. 

The projects impact a wide range of industries including but not limited to sustainable energy, identity, and gaming — bridging the gap between Web2 and Web3. Below are the grantees in order of largest to smallest funding amounts:

Anomix Network— A zk-zkRollup layer2 solution: 35K USDC and 21K MINA

Anomix Network is a zk-zkRollup layer2 solution built on Mina Protocol, focusing on privacy and scalability. On Anomix Network, you could make your L2 account anonymous and your on-chain operations private (invisible and untraceable). As a layer2, Anomix Network batches L2 transactions to make fees apportioned (much lower cost) and furthermore makes it easy to build private DeFi, NFT, DID, and other applications. As part of zkIgnite Cohort1, they will build a zkApp, named Ano-Cash.

Team: Anomix Network, coldStar1993#6265, Comdex#3801, and funnyLlj#9581

BioSNARKs — ZK-proof of biotech data: 30K USDC and 18K MINA

Drug and biotech development is an expensive and slow process. A single therapy might take up to 10 years and anywhere between $300M-2.2B to develop. The culprit is poor reproducibility in basic research and siloing of data and results. As decentralized science is already taking off, a solution would be essential for effective co-development. BioSNARKS open up new possibilities for accelerated and more democratized drug and biotech development, by allowing participants to share or trade validated data, IP, protocols, and targets without revealing sensitive information.

 

Other zkApp funded projects include: 

zkApp Project Grant Received
zkApp Keyless Wallet USDC: 29,999 & MINA: 17,999
Cryptographic Proof of NFT Endorsement (CPoNE) USDC: 24,000 & MINA: 14,400
Mina Arena | Free to Play Battle Game on Mina USDC: 22,000 & MINA: 13,200
Streamlining Web3 credentials: a community-based protocol USDC: 22,000 & MINA: 13,200
AdMeta – A ZK-based advertising protocol USDC: 20,000 & MINA: 12,000
zkBUIDL Bounties: A Decentralized and Gamified Approach to TDD USDC: 15,000 & MINA: 9,000
RankProof USDC: 15,000 & MINA: 9,000
zkHumans – Anonymous CryptoBiometric Memberships USDC: 12,560 & MINA: 7,536
Data-centric, Privacy-preserving ZK-DID USDC: 10,000 & MINA: 6,000
FlexSecure: Enhancing Flexibility Delivery Settlement with ZKPs USDC: 8,500 & MINA: 5,100
Proof of Social Impact USDC: 5,000 & MINA: 3,000
Proof of Alpha USDC: 5,000 & MINA: 3,000

Funded Dev4Dev Projects

Electors have also selected 12 Dev4Dev proposals for a total of 243K USDC and 145K MINA in funding. 

All of these Dev4Dev tooling and service projects have the potential to improve the development experience, making it easier and faster to create decentralized applications with better security, scalability, and ZK privacy. This will allow developers to focus on building their ideas rather than managing the complexities of data storage, management, and infrastructure. Below are the grantees in order of largest to smallest funding amounts:

ZKFS.io, MINA’s native data availability layer.: 50K USDC and 30K MINA

Introducing ZKFS (Zero Knowledge File System) – a data availability layer designed to reduce blockchain storage requirements while still allowing for complex business logic. Unlike traditional blockchain designs, Mina Protocol’s zero knowledge approach enables developers to store large data structures indirectly (through state hash commitments) without adding unnecessary bulk to the network. More importantly, it shifts the responsibilities of executing smart contracts to the client side, together with delegating the data storage requirements outside of the Mina chain itself. This solution offers a suite of smart-contract libraries, networking utilities, and data consensus tools that allow for the seamless development of smart contracts capable of storing arbitrarily large data structures.

Team: Stove Labs, Matej Sima & Istvan Deak

ZKFS (Zero Knowledge File System) user flow - ZKPS is a data availability layer designed to reduce blockchain storage requirements while still allowing for complex business logic. It uses Mina Protocol's zero knowledge approach which enables developers to store large data structures indirectly (through state hash commitments) without adding unnecessary bulk to the network. More importantly, it shifts the responsibilities of executing smart contracts to the client side, together with delegating the data storage requirements outside of the Mina chain itself. This solution offers a suite of smart-contract libraries, networking utilities, and data consensus tools that allow for the seamless development of smart contracts capable of storing arbitrarily large data structures.

 

Njord – a scalable, modular, and interoperable zkRollup: 49K USDC and 29K MINA

Njord is a zkRollup solution designed to tackle the challenges of scalability and user experience on the Mina blockchain. With its novel design, Njord enables faster transaction inclusion, reducing the time needed for confirmations from minutes to seconds. This makes it easier for developers to create fast and responsive decentralized applications, while also improving the overall user experience for end-users.

Team: Raphael Panic

Other Dev4Dev funded projects include: 

Dev4Dev Project Grant Received
zkDatabase, a distributed off-chain database with ZK prover USDC: 25,800 & MINA: 15,480
ZOK: Reusable validation schemas for SnarkyJS USDC: 25,000 & MINA: 15,000
Improvements of the zkapp-cli tool USDC: 17,000 & MINA: 10,200
Mina Playground – run zkApps, interactive tutorials and deploy contracts USDC: 15,000 & MINA: 9,000
Mobile Proofs And Self-Custody Wallet – AirGap USDC: 12,000 & MINA: 7,200
Public GraphQL Proxy and Archive API USDC: 10,500 & MINA: 6,300
Mina Developer Container USDC: 10,000 & MINA: 6,000
Pacioli: zkLedger USDC: 10,000 & MINA: 6,000
CTF: Capture the flag USDC: 10,000 & MINA: 6,000
Easy Mina: A smart contract development environment in less than 5 minutes USDC: 8,900 & MINA: 5,340

Ambassador Referral Rewards

In addition to the amazing work completed by Cohort 1 participants, we would also like to thank two zkIgnite ambassadors who successfully referred two projects that were selected for funding. These ambassadors will each receive 2,000 MINA for their contribution to growing the ecosystem.

The success of zkIgnite depends on builders like you spreading the word and referring talented individuals to the program. Congratulations to kmy#6679 and portport#9420, for their contribution to Cohort 1. We encourage the community to start thinking about who you might refer for Cohort 2 and beyond!

What’s Next for Cohort 1

Cohort 1 funding will be used by the grantees to bootstrap their initial builds, not the entirety of their projects. Grantees will embark on five more weeks of workshops about fundraising and setting up their own crypto businesses while they get to work on completing their proposed milestones. They will also have the opportunity to connect with a wider network of potential backers at the end of the program to continue building their zkApp projects on Mina Protocol and onboard users. 

Mentors will also begin working with these projects in this next phase. So make sure to keep an eye out for the final retrospective blog at the end of the program, where we will provide an update on the 26 funded projects as well as announce mentor awards. 

The Mina Foundation would like to thank everyone who participated in the program. We were blown away by the sheer number of incredible project proposals. It is a true testament to the passion, skill, and creativity of the community. While unfortunately not all projects could get funded this time around, we want to stress that the lack of quality was absolutely not a factor. Every proposal was impressive and thoughtfully put together.

We hope to see all of the participants apply again for Cohort 2 and future planned cohorts and we are eager to see how your projects continue to grow and evolve.

Announcing Cohorts 2 and 3 

If your project did not get funded or you missed out on the opportunity to participate in Cohort 1, we encourage you to apply for zkIgnite Cohort 2 – kicking off on May 24th.

There will be more funding available with improved workshops, technical support, and new opportunities for non-technical contributors. If you are interested in co-building the future of zero knowledge and joining a talented community of developers and entrepreneurs, we invite you to sign up. You can also zoom into each weekly gathering here to see some of the great work that happened in Cohort 1. 

zkIgnite, Cohort 3 will launch later in 2023 and provide opportunities for both new and returning teams to foster a long-lasting community of participants building their businesses on Mina Protocol.

It’s an exciting time to build on Mina, with even more cohorts set to kick off later this year and beyond, an updated Mina roadmap coming out soon, and many other exciting developments. We hope that you will join us!

Register for Cohort 2 Today

Cohort 2 will start building on May 24th, 2023 – full details will be shared in the coming weeks!

Sign up below to register your interest and receive next steps on getting involved.

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About Mina Protocol

Mina is the world’s lightest blockchain, powered by participants. Rather than apply brute computing force, Mina uses advanced cryptography and recursive zk-SNARKs to design an entire blockchain that is about 22kb, the size of a couple of tweets. It is the first layer-1 to enable efficient implementation and easy programmability of zero knowledge smart contracts (zkApps). With its unique privacy features and ability to connect to any website, Mina is building a private gateway between the real world and crypto—and the secure, democratic future we all deserve. Mina is stewarded by the Mina Foundation, a public benefit corporation headquartered in the United States.

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