Binance Labs, the venture arm of Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange Binance, announced on Friday it has granted $15,000 to its first three open-source Fellowship projects.

In a blog post on Friday, Binance named three startups who will receive the $15,000 grant: Ironbelly, HOPR, and Kitsune Wallet. The three will join the Binance Fellowship program as its first so-called ‘Fellows’.

Ironbelly, named after the fictional dragon that guarded the deepest vaults of Gringotts bank, is a mobile wallet for the private and lightweight Grin blockchain. Grin uses ‘mimblewimble’ technology — another Harry Potter reference — which prevents blockchains from revealing personal information. The app is currently running iOS beta tests on the Floonet Grin testnet.

HOPR is an Ethereum-based, privacy-preserving messaging protocol by Swiss-based developer Validity Labs. Messages are relayed across several ‘relay nodes’ to the recipient, providing privacy. As a means of incentivisation, relay node operators are paid via payment channels. The application is currently in testing, and there is a standalone demo on the Ropsten testnet for those interested in seeing it in action.

Originally named ‘Universally Upgradable Identity Proxy’, Kitsune Wallet is an Ethereum-based on-chain wallet. It offers a smart contract based account that holds assets in a single contract, while also allowing users to change the appearance, or modify the security, of their account. The protocol first started development in EthParis 2019.

Teck Chia, Partner at Binance Labs, described how the Binance Labs Fellowship “supports developers and researchers in creating free and open-source projects, enabling new innovations and businesses in the cryptocurrency economy.” He continued:

“The more talent an industry attracts to the space, the higher chance that it will be successful and Binance Labs hopes to further enable the overwhelming talent and builders of our industry. Thus, our part is to support early-stage projects that are helping to create the building blocks and infrastructure for larger utility and enabling growth in the blockchain market.”

Binance Labs made headlines last month when it announced Season 2 of its Incubator Program. The program will work with entrepreneurs worldwide – with chapters in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Lagos, San Francisco and Singapore – and aims to further the global blockchain revolution.



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