Since the appearance of blockchain technology, there has been a persistent problem in its development: how to make it scalable to billions of users. Bitcoin has never been designed for this, and today even other platforms like Ethereum are struggling. If you could solve this problem, the thought goes, you'll end up with the hottest property in blockchain right now.
This, a good deal of ambition, and a bench of strong IT talents are some of the big reasons why investors are gathering around DFINITY, a startup based in Zug, Switzerland and Palo Alto which is also a foundation, and has a very high goal to build what it calls "Internet Computer": a blockchain-based, decentralized and non-proprietary network to run the next generation of mega-applications. DFINITY aims to launch an initial version of its public network – which also dubbed "Cloud 3.0" – towards the end of the year.
Today, DFINITY announces that it has raised $ 102 million in funding, in a round jointly led by Andreessen Horowitz (through its a16z crypto fund encryption) and Polychain Capital. Both were former investors in a $ 61 million DFINITY round announced at the start of this year – which was a blockbuster for blockchain, with at least $ 1.3 billion invested in technology only in the first half of the year 2018. DFINITY has so far raised over $ 195 million since it was founded in 2015.
Other investors in the last round include SV Angel, Aspect Ventures, Village Global, Multicoin Capital, Scalar Capital and Amino Capital, as well as members of the DFINITY community.
The DFINITY approach to the problem of scalability is to solve the dilemma between complete decentralization (where each miner executes each instruction of each computation) against delegating the mechanics to nodes or super nodes (hence therefore more centralization). DFINITY claims to have tested its network to the point where it is possible to finalize software calculations in less than 5 seconds, which is extremely fast. Bitcoin by contrast takes 3600 seconds and Ethereum 600 seconds.
DFINITY led an exemption of CHF 35 million in tokens to members of the DFINITY community to help them become initial users. Now DFINITY has followed the new approach of increasing a private sale for its token, without going to a public sale.
You can also see a test demo of the network here:
While many blockchain projects are related to currency (an area that DFINITY has also developed, as you can see) What is remarkable about what this startup is doing is that its broader goal is to build a platform that can be used in a significantly broader set of applications.
The Internet Computer, as described by founder and chief scientist Dominic Williams, "is a public infrastructure that aims to host the next generation of software and services in the world." The belief is that by opening it as a source and not as an owner, it is significantly safer and less expensive to maintain. DFINITY says that research and development on this architecture is 90% lower.
"We are thrilled to support DFINITY's Internet computer and their vision to host the next generation of software and services on a public network," said Chris Dixon, Partner at a16z crypto. "Internet Computer is on its way to becoming a critical piece of the future technology stack, which is revolutionary and a true testimony of Dominic and the incredible DFINITY team."
In addition to Williams, that team It's really impressive.
Includes Timo Hanke as head of engineering, who is a former mathematician and cryptographic professor who created AsicBoost to increase the efficiency of Bitcoin extraction; Mahnush Movahedi, who worked as a senior researcher at Yale, where he worked on " scalable and fault-tolerant distributable algorithms for consensus and secure multiparty computing, secret sharing and interactive communication over noisy channels"; ex-Googler Ben Lynn, which is the "L" of the BLS cryptography, used in Threshold Relay to "generate randomness and achieve security, speed and scalability in public networks"; and Adreas Rossberg, another ex-googler who co-designed the WebAssembly virtual machine, which is also used in DFINITY.
While Internet networks and major online players today are proprietary entities with their commercial and strategic programs, the vision behind DFINITY is that it can be used to run "standalone software" that will work more independently. They will exist as open source software running that is updated using a built-in governance that can provide very strong guarantees to users in the form of "smart contracts" (computer processing and other transactions that can be carried out without third parties). These can cover the way data could be used or provide guarantees to startups that want to create functionality without the precarious concern of revoking access to the platform. You can read more information about the technology in its white paper.
DFINITY did not reveal its rating with this round.