Investment Proposal: Mel Project

LunarDAO is currently discussing to invest in Mel project. This is ultimately a Squad decision and this thread is to share a summary of the project and initiate a discussion.

Mel project is a new name for Themelio. At the time of writing their website is very new, for a full documentation see The vision of Mel project is to build off-chain composable apps with a minimal on-chain interaction to achieve censorship resistance and decentralization.

The whole report on Mel project can be found here.

Note: The following text is based on what @nullchinchillas shared in Lunarpunk Future V. This is mostly a transcription but as only selected parts have been included and some changes have been made, it is not quoted.

Mel project

@nullchinchilla developed Geph, which is an open source VPN that for example have been used to circumvent the firewall in China. It’s based on zero knowledge cryptography to protect user privacy. Even if a server is compromised it’s not possible to link peoples activity between browser sessions.

MEL - L1 blockchain

@nullchinchilla identifies two main problems with layer 1 blockchains.

  1. Complex on-chain ecosystems. When people want to use them, they have to do so through centralized gateways such as Infura. This is bad if aiming for decentralization and sovereignty. It limits peoples adoption to these technologies. What is needed for the L1’s is not privacy but consistency in censorship resistance.
  2. It’s difficult to build transformative applications beyond the DeFi smart contracts. Zero knowledge proofs on L1’s make it difficult to build trustless light clients. If we keep the blockchain easy to embed and use and privacy stuff off-chain where we don’t have problems of consensus and validation.
  • What Mel tries to do is to maximize censorship resistance and composability by using light clients.
  • Mel is not a privacy L1, but a different vision of how we use L1s, @nullchinchilla shared in the event. There is a need for a small transparency layer at the bottom and that’s what Mel is trying to do.
  • The proposed design is that every single application on the internet, on-chain or off-chain, can run light clients interacting with decentralized code on Mel.
  • Mel can be used to build peer-to-peer trading networks, communication networks such a federated social media with strong encryption, mixnets and other privacy technologies. @nullchinchilla sees this as something which can embody lunarpunk ideals .
  • Mel is currently on Mainnet Beta which has been running for more than a year. The team released documentation on how to build off-chain. The token has not been launched yet. The team is looking at integrating Mel as a root of trust in Geph. Announcement in regards to this will happen in a few weeks.

Astrape: Anonymous payment channel network

  • Astrape is an anonymous payment network which is one of the first L2’s on Mel. Astrape is using an onion routing technique. Unless controlling all nodes, it is impossible to know which sender is connected to which recipient across the payment channel. It can be viewed as Tor for payment channel networks. Astrape uses a different contract from HTLC’s. Other projects uses zero knowledge proofs or signature aggregation. @nullchinchilla figured out a way to achieve the same anonymity goals with the same cryptography as HTLCs; with a simple signature scheme and a hash function. This solution is easier to implement, easier to prove secure and easier to deploy.

  • Lunarpunk Future V recording.

@nullchinchilla if anything is misunderstood, please share. It was amazing to hear your perspectives. Mel is such a great project.

A quck sum up of Mel Project @serinko did some days ago:

An interview between LunarDAO, @saliveja and @nullchinchilla about the Mel project.

The proposal in numbers coming up soon!

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Here is an attempt at a proposal; let me know if there’s anything that needs clarification/elaboration! I’ve actually never written DAO proposals before…

About the project

Mel is an L1 blockchain built around the principle of off-chain composability — decentralized, censorship-resistant protocols composing off-chain, rather than through on-chain smart contract interfaces. Thus, it focuses on providing the minimum blockchain that has:

  • Trustless, performant light clients that can be deployed to every endpoint
  • Enough on-chain scripting to achieve “functionality escape velocity” (see Vitalik’s blogpost on this subject)
  • Maximal economic security (e.g. very harsh slashing penalties)

A minimal blockchain is also important for Mel to be governance-free — no consensus rule changes after the stable mainnet launches. This is very important for credible neutrality, but usual L1 blockchains cannot commit to governance-freedom. But an L1 blockchain that aims to have very easy-to-implement light clients sitting in software stacks all around the internet can do so, since coordinating governance is basically impossible (e.g. IPv4 is here to stay!).

Useful links:

Form of the investment

Right now, the project does not have publicly tradable tokens. We also aim to launch the SYM (PoS investment token) token in a compliant, locked-up fashion, probably on a platform like Coinlist, though they will eventually unlock as our network becomes a fully ossified and decentralized system.

Thus, the easiest way is probably the SAFT token proposal previous mentioned.

We can also print a “dummy”/placeholder ERC-20 token on Ethereum ($PPwSYM, “pinky promise wSYM”), that will act as tokens eventually redeemable for wSYM — once lockup period for the SYM token launch is over — through a trustless cross-chain bridge to Mel. That will essentially be a “SAFT” as well.


Right now, we are seeking to raise $3-5M in total for our seed round. Ideally, as much of this is raised in a decentralized way from aligned communities like LunarDAO.

However, to not fragment things too much, we are looking at a minimum investment of something on the order of $100,000.

Valuation is negotiable, but note that our preseed in 2020 was at a $15M FDV.

Partnership opportunities

Given that we share a similar lunarpunk/agorist vision, there are many ways that Mel and LunarDAO can work together with lots of mutual upside:

Betanet $MEL and $SYM grants for LunarDAO members

This will on one hand incentivize lunarpunk-adjacent developers to start building in Mel’s off-chain composable ecosystem — either new protocols or integrations with existing “alt-web” network protocols like Nostr, Matrix, and the like.

On the other hand, it’ll also be a great monetary incentive to join LunarDAO to gain access to Mel grants.

DAO infrastructure collaboration

An important usecase for Mel is as a credibly neutral settlement layer for off-chain DAOs built with state channels, off-chain signature aggregation and the like. LunarDAO, as a DAO highly committed to privacy, censorship resistance, and decentralization, would be a great partner to work with to understand the needs of DAOs and beta-test/dogfood off-chain DAO infrastructure.

Mel can provide research support, token grants, and such in a collaborative project to build out a truly blockchain-community-neutral, self-sovereign DAO protocol.


Thank you for sharing @nullchinchilla!

Can you specify a bit in which prices (and how that relates to the sizes) you were selling MELs or SYMs so far please?

The proposal was added to the original report:

The announcement is coming up soon.

Thanks for the effort and the idea sounds very exciting. How far are you in the project and would you please share some information about the status of the project at this time? When will the SYM token be Out? When final product? Anything on testnets right now?

@bil We made an interview with Mel, which may cover some of your questions:

Mel fundraises minimum of 100k so to proceed with the investment proposal, we would have to run another raise.

What you all think?

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I wouldn’t put all the eggs in one big basket. Maybe in a future funding round?

I think it’s better to invest smaller amounts in several projects, to diversify. Even better if such projects can potentially generate cash flow like Firn.

Maybe run some Mel staking nodes for example, when they are released?

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We simply sold “10% of whatever ends up being SYM’s initial mainnet supply”, as a SAFT-ish thing, for $1.5M, since we (still) don’t have a completely final SYM token economics system (e.g. will SYM be fixed supply or have some tail emission)

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To start off our partnership / as signaling I would be okay with a much smaller check size, the $100K minimum was assuming a fund with much more than that number AUM :slight_smile:


I think Mel is a projects with an philosophical foundation which is essential. For the coming raise I hope that we can revisit the proposal on investing in Mel.

@nullchinchilla I also started to use Geph whcih is great. Much appreciated. I was using ProtonVPN and even though the paid version includes many options it is buggy and stops working often.

Mel is the next one. We gotta make a proper raise though.


I’m excited about this. Mel is such a unique and brilliant approach. I wanna try out the payment channel as well.

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Did you try it?

There are few things to align (which takes longer than expected) and run another raise to continue with this. Will keep updated.