(Bloomberg) -- A developer of software for decentralized social-media networks founded by two former Coinbase Global Inc. executives is close to completing a funding round valuing it at about $1 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said. 

Crypto investment firm Paradigm is leading the investment in Los Angeles-based Merkle Manufactory, whose software underpins the Farcaster social-media network, the people said, asking not to be named as details haven’t been made public. 

Dan Romero, a former vice president at Coinbase and co-founder of Merkle, confirmed that the startup is raising money in a social media post on March 29, without specifiying the amount. Romero declined to comment further when asked by Bloomberg about the valuation. Paradigm declined to comment.

“Wanted to let everyone know that Merkle Manufactory is closing a new round of financing,” he said in a post on Warpcast, the Farcaster app developed by Merkle. “Will share more details soon.”

Merkle, founded in 2020, has two main products: the Farcaster protocol with a blockchain component, and Warpcast, an app built on top of Farcaster which closely resembles X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. Romero co-founded the firm together with Varun Srinivasan, a former senior director at Coinbase. 

Merkle last raised capital in July 2022 in a $30 million round led by a16z Crypto. 

On a recent Blockworks podcast, Romero said the “fundamental premise for Farcaster is a protocol that no one individual, company or country controls,” adding that those conditions are “the long-term equilibrium state for the global public square.”

The Farcaster ecosystem in January introduced a new feature called Frames, which gives developers a window in which to display the functionality of external apps without forcing users to click away from Warpcast. Developers have used the Frames feature to run polls, play chess and even to mint nonfungible tokens. 

The number of daily active users on the Farcaster network jumped to over 50,000 in early February from less than 10,000 the month before, according to data compiled by The Block Research.

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