P0x labs—which is developing Manta Network—has raised $25 million in a Series A funding round, with a new Layer 2 testnet launching today.

The team behind Manta Network say ZK technology has an opportunity to address scalability challenges on the Ethereum network—not to mention privacy concerns—but much of the technology being developed is isolated from the people who drive blockchain activity most.

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"It's really exciting for us because this round that we raised was an equity round," Kenny Li, core contributor at Manta Network, told Decrypt. "They're no longer just investing in the token itself, but also the team."

At EthCC in Paris, it was announced that Manta Network has now launched the testnet of its Layer 2 network for ZK applications in an "inexpensive gas fee environment." Known as Manta Pacific, it's set to complement a Layer 1 called Manta Atlantic, which also focuses on compliant on-chain privacy.

Zero-knowledge proofs allow individuals to prove something is real, without revealing the information at hand directly. And p0x labs, which is building the Manta Network, believes this technology can give users full control of their identity without the risk of surveillance—and attract those who are wary of using DeFi protocols because of fully transparent transaction histories.

The funding round for p0x labs — which has delivered a valuation of $500 million — was led by Polychain Capital and Qiming Venture Partners.

Luke Pearson, an investor at Polychain Capital, said in a news release: "We are excited to see Manta expanding into the Ethereum ecosystem, and have doubled down on our investment this Series A round."

And Yi Tang, principal at Qiming Venture Partners, believes its contribution could help Manta Network crack the Asia market—and even gain traction among Web2 brands.

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"We're excited to support Manta Network in its journey to unlock ZK adoption," he said. "We have seen for the first time the real potential for ZK to onboard substantial user numbers through applied use cases such as the zkSBT (private soul-bound tokens.)"

A key portion of this money give the project a "global presence," said Li. "Teaming with one of the largest investors in China is going to be really great to help us get like a bigger foothold in parts of Asia, especially China," he told Decrypt.

According to the project, there have already been signs of demand based on the applications built atop of its L1 network. It claims over 300,000 zero-knowledge soulbound tokens, which allow on-chain identities to be verified without data leakage, have been minted through partnerships with the likes of Arbitrum and Linea. Contributors also say the native Manta Wallet has commanded over 200,000 installs, with other concepts such as email-based notifications resulting in a collective user base of over 1.5 million users.

And looking ahead, it's hoped that the new testnet—complete with plug-and-play functionality—will allow developers to focus time and resources on their core products.

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