If you’re reading this, you already know that 2022 was a tumultuous year for the blockchain industry, and we see little value in rehashing it. But you probably also agree with us that despite many challenges, there’s been a tremendous amount of progress.
L2s are coming online in droves, DeFi seems to be working better than CeFi, and we are steadily beginning to solve the UX challenges that have thus far prevented crypto from achieving full potential in a global adoption context. Most importantly we now have fast, secure, cheap transactions available across a whole host of networks, which was always a prerequisite to truly competing with legacy financial rails and computing platforms. And for that reason — look outside, is that spring on the horizon?
At Equilibrium, we continue to put our best foot forward in pursuit of a scalable, transparent, global computing substrate. But in chasing those dreams the story of our 2022 was mostly about heads down development. While our engineers focused on delivering the future, major operational efforts were undertaken on the back-end to transform Equilibrium into a formal group structure, with multiple independent entities. Hence the Equilibrium Group year in review, subdivided into the stories of units with their own leadership, processes, and areas of focus — all designed to best serve our clients or users in each respective case.
So, here we go. The Equilibrium Group, an umbrella which owns a majority stake in all other entities and is responsible for managing our liquid and illiquid investment portfolios, now consists of:
Equilibrium Labs was the original name for our core R&D organisation. When Equilibrium Labs started doing all manner of activities outside that pure R&D remit, we dropped “Labs” from the title. Then Equilibrium started doing all manner of further additional activities, became the Equilibrium Group, and thus in its sub-units, yes — “Labs is back.” And we couldn’t be more excited. Equilibrium Labs is led by Olli Tiainen and focuses on helping pioneers to implement their visions in production-ready code, while also sketchboarding new products and services for the next decade of innovation.
Eiger is a 4,000-metre mountain in the Swiss Alps. Great skiing. If you think far enough off-piste, Eiger becomes a new organisation led by Equilibrium veteran Daren Tuzi, focused exclusively on blockchain-related consulting-engineering. It is designed to be able to scale engineering teams into the tens and eventually hundreds of developers, allowing it to tackle the ultra-scale projects needed in a trillion dollar asset class.
A pertinent question here is why we felt the need to establish this mountain outside of Equilibrium’s operating zone. And the answer is we had a client which, similar to how we suspect other blue-chip companies might demand in the future, required so many developers from us that we’d no longer have been able to do, well, anything else alongside it. So, Eiger does engineering, but what it is is a membrane between the blockchain industry as we conceptualise it today and the macro-level plumbing system that needs to be constructed for the traditional economy. Which brings us to..
Another new creation. What does it do? It’s in the name. Membrane Finance is a gateway to digital finance — a hybrid operator between TradFi and DeFi. It has a product, called EUROe, which is also what its name would suggest — a blockchain-enabled digital Euro. Or in a few more words, it is a full-reserve, Euro-denominated stablecoin enabling transformation of fiat Euros to a blockchain native currency on a 1:1 basis. It is the first fully regulated, MiCA compliant, Euro-based stablecoin in the European Union.
Launching EUROe was the outcome of almost 2 years of regulatory legwork. Membrane Finance isn’t interested in creating just another coin, or even just another stablecoin — we’re interested in providing a service where every technological and regulatory challenge has been so obsessively addressed that we drive real-world, positive change throughout the Euro-based economy. Which seems important, given that approx. one-third of all global payments made out there are made in Euros. Membrane Finance is an Electronic Money Institution led by Equilibrium veteran Juha Viitala. For clarity, Membrane also does some engineering, but what it is is e-money, which moves more quickly and more cheaply than any currency we’ve ever seen before. That’s cool.
Topic switch, let’s talk about our projects. There were too many across the group in 2022 to give them all the @s they deserve, but we can try the cram-highlights-into-one-paragraph approach.
Pathfinder Starknet Full Node - now running under the hood in every blockchain API provider which supports Starknet including Infura, Blast API, Chainstack, etc. (Link).
Polygon Avail Settlement Layer - a novel sovereign rollup which uses Avail as its data availability layer, stay tuned.
Aleo - we completed testnet 3 and implemented a novel SGX-based system to dramatically improve performance in a privacy context.
Ziggurat - something that started out as a networking stack testing suite for Zcash has now expanded much, much, further with multi-node testing, testnet attack simulations and network crawling/analytics.
XRPL Hooks Builder - we designed and built an IDE for building and deploying Hooks, and are now implementing AssemblyScript support.
Starsign - a multisig implementation written in Cairo, with the UI due to be launched once Cairo 1.0 is adopted on mainnet.
Eclipse - a prototype system for storing zk-proofs of Solana votes on the Aleo blockchain for the purpose of creating bridges.
On the investing side, we extended our portfolio through participation in several rounds during 2022 with Starkware (Series D), Elusiv (Seed), Empiric Network (Seed), Kleoverse (Seed), Flowstate Games (Seed) & Ray Systems (Seed) and expect to ramp-up our cadence substantially in the year ahead. We’re beginning to hit a threshold where our dealflow, technical due diligence capabilities, and financial muscles might enable or even necessitate the establishment of “investing” as a standalone commercial activity of the group, to help further develop our platform synergies and support our long-term business plan. Let’s see.
The result of all the exertions above is that we grew significantly in 2022. Aggregating across the business lines and entities, we approximately doubled in both revenue and headcount, to €8.3M and 63 respectively.
That’s fantastic, but just as important or indeed much more so is that we enjoyed, and continue to enjoy riding the curve. So, to close, here’s a photo from our 2022 retreat in Sorrento, near Naples, where we enjoyed workshops on wide-ranging topics including zero-knowledge proofs and inter-satellite communications (that one isn’t strictly blockchain-related but well, we workshopped it anyway because why not), while also visiting Pompei for a reminder on why one should not build a city near an active volcano.
Thanks for reading, thanks for your support, and we look forward to navigating the mysteries of 2023 together.
About the author
Teemu Päivinen is the Founder of Equilibrium Group.