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Unique Divine, Co-founder and CEO of Nibiru, on Creating L1s, Parallel Optimistic Execution, and EVM-Compatibility | Ep. 340

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 4 min read
Unique Divine, the co-founder and CEO of Nibiru, the user-centric layer-1 Super Chain.

Cryptonews Podcast Matt Zahab recently sat down for an exclusive interview with Unique Divine, the co-founder and CEO of Nibiru, the user-centric layer-1 Super Chain.

Divine discussed the Nibiru EVM, which is coming in Q3, and its relevance.

He talked about the challenges of raising funds for a new project, the lessons learned when creating the blockchain, and the reasons the team had to pivot from the initial idea.

Layer 1 Road to Self-Discovery

There are numerous Layer 1 blockchains in the crypto space. And like most of them, Nibiru started with an idea, but then pivoted.

And they’ve done so in a way that separates this chain from the others, the co-founder said.

The team started out with an idea to “build interesting applications.”

They wanted to make a collateralized debt position (CDP)-based protocol but promptly started learning valuable lessons.

The team found that if they wanted the product to be fully centralized, but not have a counterparty risk or “terrible” latency, they would have to “make like a Cosmos SDK chain in order to make that stack.”

Soon afterward, they realized that starting a chain but then mostly talking about your own dapp “discourages people from building their own stuff on the chain.”

This inhibits the team from building an ecosystem.

Also, they found out “pretty early” from the testnet and discussions with other projects that the team needed to focus on the more general use.

It needed to enable everyone else to use the product, not just create a space for its own needs.

So it evolves, Divine concluded. The idea develops quickly from “your classic description of an app chain to […] a general purpose one, and you’re trying to get a bunch of other dapps.”

Nibiru EVM Coming Soon

Divine discusses some of Nibiru’s highlights.

Nibiru is a general-purpose L1 with a pretty high throughput.

However, a major development is coming in Q3: it will launch a high-performance Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-equivalent execution layer.

“The Nibiru EVM will basically be an enhancement to make it a more efficient and scalable and powerful smart contract app,” Divine explained.

It will provide many benefits of building on a Layer 2, while keeping the native security of an L1.

Furthermore, it will be “pretty easy” to make multi-chain and Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC)-compatible tokens.

This launch will open the blockchain up to “a ton more projects” that can build there. The team is already seeing interest, Divine noted.

This next major release is supposed to go live on devnet in the third quarter, but it’s “a little bit ahead of schedule.”

Furthermore, the Nibiru team is also working on “a pretty comprehensive developer toolkit” and an Unreal Engine gaming software development kit (SDK), with plans for Unity as well.

Notably, Divine said, while these moves concern developer experience, they will also improve user experience.

The chain will improve, evolve, and grow into “one interface to access everything and really help it operate as one unit rather than feeling split apart or fragmented.”

Furthermore, the team is partnering with “people on the venture side and other founders to do an accelerator” as well.

The combination of all these developments will “help us pick up a lot of momentum,” said Divine.

Challenges of Raising Money: Differentiate Yourself Without Being Overly Technical

In February this year, Nibiru secured $12 million from Kraken Ventures, ArkStream, NGC Ventures, Master Ventures, Tribe Capital, and Banter Capital.

This came after its $8.5 million seed round in September 2022 (secured with a valuation of $100m), co-led by the $1.6B AUM firm Tribe Capital, Republic Capital, Original Capital, and NGC Ventures.

Making your project stand out and attract funds is difficult. It will be compared to many other projects.

Raising money is “one of the most difficult things to be working on, I would say, because there’s so much you have to be responsible for,” Divine said.

More precisely, “it can sometimes be difficult to communicate your differentiation without becoming way too technical in the discussion.”

As for Nibiru, it was one of the earliest Tribe Capital incubations. This was very helpful for getting connected to “a lot of the other people that were connected in the seed realm,” said Divine.

From here, the team entered an even bigger network of venture capitalists.

“You just get momentum from there,” said the co-founder.


That’s not all.

In this interview, Divine also discussed:

  • his time at the Columbia University and IBM;
  • developing the blockchain protocol Sommelier;
  • Nibiru, a new L1 blockchain valued at $100 million, backed by Tribe Capital and led by seasoned professionals from Google, IBM, and JP Morgan;
  • 2024 Roadmap: Parallel Optimistic Execution, EVM-compatibility, and more;
  • incentivizing developers and providing hands-on support;
  • structure of the grants program and access to venture funding opportunities;
  • reward mechanism and reward structures.

You can watch the full podcast episode here.


About Unique Divine

Unique Divine is the co-founder and CEO of Nibiru, the user-centric layer-1 super-chain.

Nibiru is paving the way to mainstream blockchain adoption through its high throughput and parallel optimistic execution approach.

Before gaining expertise in decentralized financial services, blockchain, and smart contracts, Divine had built a professional background primarily in applied machine learning.

He consulted as an AI engineer for startups and Fortune 500 companies with Insight Softmax.

He financed his Physics and Computer Science degrees at Columbia University through earnings generated from algorithmic trading, combining transformers for processing historical sequences and reinforcement agents to make trading decisions.

After graduation, he worked as a data scientist for IBM before helping develop Sommelier, the blockchain protocol for executing automated trading strategies on-chain.

He was in charge of the team’s data science division and led the development of DeFi trading strategies.