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Agora, a cross-chain platform offering a new standard of governance tools for decentralized protocols, has raised $5 million in a seed funding round led by Haun Ventures. The round also saw participation from Coinbase Ventures, Seed Club Ventures, and Consensys Ventures, among others. Agora aims to help protocols organize their voting systems and tackle the often chaotic nature of token-holding voter governance.

Co-founder Yitong Zhang, a former designer at Coinbase said in an interview that current systems for governance voting were “chaotic.” With Agora, however, Zhang believes that users can “have all the benefits of having your equity directly on the internet without the chaos.”

Agora’s other co-founders, Charlie Feng and Kent Fenwick, bring experience from multibillion-dollar fintech Clearco, where Feng was a co-founder and Fenwick served as an engineering executive.

Agora has already attracted notable customers such as Uniswap, Optimism, and Nouns. The startup plans to use the new funding to invest in its product and keep up with the increasing demand it has seen in the last quarter. The company is committed to building for the long term and open-sourcing its software under the MIT license to advance the ecosystem.

This approach has also led to contributions from various developers, governance tooling teams, and startups in the development of Agora’s API.

The company believes that token-backed voting and collective governance are the best ways to move the internet away from “walled gardens” and transition it from private enterprises to common protocols. While the Web2 era may have mastered private apps, Agora sees collective protocols as being in their infancy. Unlike static, traditional protocols like HTTP that require little to no management, crypto protocols are constantly evolving ecosystems that require consensus from a complex array of stakeholders.

According to Zhang, protocols may be perceived as “fundamentally less effective” than equity-governed apps (private companies) due to a lack of investment in tooling. Agora’s mission is to address this issue by making the development of MIT-licensed software for running protocols its top priority. The company acknowledges that the outcome of this venture is uncertain and the work is challenging, but it believes the goal and timing are right.

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