Understanding Ola, which raised $3 million in financing, in three minutes
Understanding Ola, $3M Fundraising in 3 Minutes
Author: angelilu, Foresight News
The popularization and development of the Internet has brought about the digitalization of the general public. The traditional way of life for most people is threatened by revolutionary changes in the economy and social organization. One of the manifestations of this threat is the monopoly of capital on ordinary people’s data and the free use of it for their own benefit, which reinforces the insignificance of individuals and their data, making most people unaware of the value created by their own data.
The emergence of blockchain has sounded the horn of the data protection battle. More and more people realize that data has value, and data created in a decentralized manner on the chain can eliminate the monopoly of data usage to the greatest extent. However, the public and transparent nature of blockchain data allows users’ transactions and on-chain activities to be viewed by anyone. The key for users to truly control their own data lies in “privacy” technology, which gives users control over their own data.
Currently, more and more laws and regulations have been introduced to regulate the use of data to protect user privacy, forcing many industry giants to pay attention to privacy and data protection. The combination of blockchain technology and privacy protection functionality may be a major trend in future development, which can promote the large-scale adoption of Web3.
Programmable Privacy Protocol Ola
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Based on this background, the public chain and protocol based on the concept of privacy have broad prospects. Ola, a rising star in the privacy track, recently completed a $3 million seed round of financing in early July, led by Web3.com Ventures and Foresight Ventures. Token Metrics Ventures, J17 Capital, Skyland Ventures, LD Capital, and CatcherVC also participated in the investment.
Ola defines itself as a high-performance ZK- ZKVM (hybrid rollup), emphasizing programmable privacy, programmable scalability, and compatibility with multiple languages. ZKVM refers to the system that uses ZK technology to realize verifiable circuit systems. The ZK-ZKVM system used by Ola solves the privacy issues in ZKVM. Users can conduct transactions on the public blockchain and ensure that their sensitive information is secure and private. Moreover, Ola provides dApp developers with an optional privacy design option through its ZK-ZKVM platform. Developers can develop private or public transaction functions in their applications as needed.
In simple terms, Ola is building a Layer2 infrastructure that integrates optional privacy and programmability. It can extend the functionality of platforms that lack privacy and high performance without sacrificing the programmability of the public chain, while inheriting its network security. Developers only need to deploy corresponding verification contracts on the corresponding chain.
Current Progress and Future Plans of Ola
Tracing its roots, Ola was incubated by Sin7y Labs in 2022. It was originally named OlaVM and later changed to Ola. Sin7y Labs was established in 2021 and is dedicated to research in ZK cryptography, ZK algorithms, and other areas. Its research department consists of more than ten technical researchers in cryptography who have graduated from prestigious universities. Currently, they have produced more than fifty research articles in Chinese and English.
In addition to financing, Ola’s important project progress includes the concept verification (PoC) implementation of its ZK-friendly virtual machine OlaVM and its smart contract language Ola-lang programmability. The next plan includes launching an internal test net in the third quarter and releasing a public test net by the end of 2023.
As mentioned earlier, Ola, renamed from OlaVM, signifies its evolution in the development process. Ola is a development framework for zero-knowledge application full-stack developers, with ZK-friendly virtual machine Ola-VM being one part of it. The two additional components implemented are the smart contract language Ola-Lang and the compiler Ola-Compiler:
Ola-VM: A ZK-friendly virtual machine that uses a simplified instruction set and pre-compiled contracts to support complex computations. This means that the results of complex computations are first computed by others locally (usually the prover themselves), with no restrictions. Subsequently, the VM performs validity checks on the computation results.
Ola-Lang: A programming language for developing OlaVM smart contracts. It is Turing complete and can be used to write arithmetic programs. Its syntax is similar to C/C++ and Rust, making it easier for most developers to learn and design ZK-friendly.
Ola-Compiler: The compiler compiles Ola contract code into assembly code supported by OlaVM.
In addition to these three core components, the tools and modules listed in the orange box in the above figure are modules that Ola will implement in the future.
OVP Incentive Policy
In March 2023, Ola launched a community loyalty program called OVP, which stands for “Ola-vm Points” (formerly known as “Ola Points”). This program is designed to incentivize and reward active Ola community members. The more members contribute, the more OVP they will receive.
There are two ways for community members to earn OVP: the first is to complete Ola-related tasks on the Web3 task platform Zealy; the second way to earn OVP includes translating Ola’s content and making valuable suggestions in Ola’s Discord community. Holding a certain amount of Ola points will enable users to play a role in the future governance of the Ola community and earn corresponding airdrop rewards. This program is still ongoing and will be improved over time.
Ola’s Compliance Design
Since the US Treasury’s sanctioning of the Tornado Cash incident, regulatory risks related to blockchain privacy have become a hot topic of discussion in the industry. The privacy technologies and privacy transactions used by most projects involve regulatory compliance issues. Ola believes that privacy is a much-needed technology in the current blockchain world and even in the real world. However, privacy technologies need regulatory oversight to expand and, if necessary, should provide private transaction information to track private asset transfers.
Different from the complete privacy of Tornado Cash, Ola allows transaction information to be audited and tracked when necessary. It adopts the design of “view key” which allows users to disclose executed private transactions through “view keys”. This measure is not only friendly to developers and ordinary users, but also complies with regulatory requirements.
Ola provides privacy and scalability services for all programmable public chains, which can supplement performance and privacy on the basis of existing public chain security. In terms of community development potential, Ola is laying out globally and actively promoting the construction of a global community. It is also promoting the development of the project in communities such as English, French, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Persian. In addition, Ola is currently conducting a recruitment plan for Ola global ambassadors. However, as a project that has not yet launched a testnet, whether Ola can achieve more breakthroughs and achievements in the field of programmable privacy still needs further practical testing and verification.