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Ex-Terra Developer Raises Funds for This New Project

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Former Terra developer Neel Somani has raised $15m for a new project focused on developing cross-chain roll-ups.

The new project, a layer-2 protocol known as the Eclipse roll-up, runs on the Solana (SOL) blockchain and is inspired by the interoperability blockchain Cosmos (ATOM).

Speaking in an interview with The Block on Tuesday, Somani made it clear that although his background as an engineer on the Terra blockchain – which famously collapsed in May of this year – could be seen as an obstacle, that has not stopped him. He said the Terra ecosystem had strong developers and that he felt an urge to develop something similar.

Somani also said that a lesson learned from his time at Terra is to avoid single points of failure.

“If the blockchain I was building on failed, then I was completely exposed to that, and there was really no way to mitigate that risk,” he said in the interview, adding that security becomes less of a concern when you are building roll-ups. “You don’t even have to worry about reliability because you can always change the [layer 1],” he said.

Somani added that he plans to make the first release of the new protocol open-source early next year.

According to a tweet from Eclipse, the new protocol will offer “unparalleled dedicated throughput” while still maintaining the “security, decentralization, and reliability of existing L1s.”

Eclipse raised $6m from investors during a pre-seed round this summer with participation from Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko and Polygon (MATIC). That round was followed by another $9m funding round later, led by investment firms Tribe Capital and Tabiya, Blockworks reported on Wednesday.

Neel Somani formerly worked as a quantitative analyst for the hedge fund Citadel. He began his crypto engineering work part-time before starting to work full-time on a Terra-based project.

Despite having been through a spectacular collapse, Terra’s original Luna Classic (LUNC) token remains one of the top 30 most valuable cryptoassets with a market capitalization of around $1.65bn.

Terra founder Do Kwon is wanted by South Korean authorities, and his whereabouts are currently unknown. At the same time, on-chain data from the Terra blockchain suggests that the Terra founder has taken advantage of the high valuation of the Luna token and is still cashing out from his “shadow wallets.”