Cumberland Labs, the incubator arm of Chicago-based crypto trading company Cumberland has launched the beta version of a new API tool that could simplify the arduous task of connecting to blockchain and decentralized finance protocols.
Cumberland Labs told Cointelegraph that the Cumberland, the trading unit of DRW Holdings LCC used to invest considerable time connecting to various protocols manually, and one at a time.
The firm couldn't find a tool to simplify these tasks and ultimately created its own API service, expand.network using its own developers and engineers from its incubator arm. The tool has been in testing since November and is available to the public in beta.
An API stands for application programming interface and is used when one type of programming needs to communicate with another.
"We were exploring DeFi trading and sought a tool similar to the ccxt library used for centralized exchanges, which could connect to any DeFi protocol or blockchain. To our surprise, no such tool existed," Tama Churchouse, chief operating officer at Cumberland Labs told Cointelegraph.
The newly released solution seeks to offer both read and write connectivity to major public blockchains and DeFi protocols, helping developers to interact across multiple protocol APIs and software development kits (SDKs).
The Web3 startup seeks to solve an aging crypto issue: inefficiency in cross-chain communication. However, it is far from solving the same problems as cross-chain solutions. According to its CEO Demetrios Skalkotos, while both "may seem similar on the surface", they serve different purposes.
"Cross-chain solutions primarily facilitate the transfer of messages and tokens between various chains. In contrast, expand.network provides connectivity to chains and protocols, offering a more comprehensive and versatile solution for navigating the DeFi landscape," he explained.
The low-code tool will support Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible chains including Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Avalanche, Polygon, Cronos, Arbitrum and Optimism as well as non EVM-compatible chains like Solana, Tron, NEAR and Algorand. Upcoming support will be available for Aptos, Sui, Lido, LayerZero and StarkNet.
The platform was conceived and built by Cumberland Labs, which provided funding, resources, and consulting. If market conditions permit, the startup may seek funding later this year.
"When it comes to seeking funding, our strategy is to target crypto seed and series A technology infrastructure investors, as well as potential strategic investors," noted Skalkotos.
As the crypto space evolves, more capital is flowing into developer-oriented and interoperability solutions. In April, cross-chain messaging protocol developer LayerZero Labs raised $120 million to expand its reach into the Asia-Pacific region. It had previously raised $135 million in March 2022.