- Vlad Zamfir, Ethereum star researcher, joins a running startup to be the first to deliver the Casper protocol update
- The company, appropriately named Casper Labs, has raised $ 20 million in funding led by Galaxy. He elected Scott Walker, president of the DNA investment fund, as his deputy and crypt-veteran Steven Nerayoff as deputy
Vlad Zamfir, a leading Ethereum researcher, is stepping back from the blockchain empire to work with Casper Labs, an R & D startup that is building a "fully scalable blockchain", The block I can confirm.
Casper Labs will be an indirect competitor of Ethereum in an attempt to provide the highly anticipated update of the Casper protocol. Zamfir led a popular version of Casper (CBC) at Ethereum, helping the network to rely on actions rather than computing power to reach consensus, as well as addressing scalability issues.
But while the ETC's expiration of CBC update has not been in place for some years, Casper Labs focuses on upgrading as soon as possible, giving Zamfir a new and more focused platform.
"Ethereum is a project that is already up and running, it's getting harder and harder to update this way – it's like changing a car's engine when it's running, it's a lot more complicated," said Casper Labs CEO , Mrinal Manohar, The block. "Vlad just wants the world to pass the pole, he's still very supportive of Ethereum because he's working on Casper [the protocol]. But we have a development team that focuses exclusively on acceleration ".
Manohar said that Zamfir has so far signed an IP license agreement e a letter of intent with Casper Labs, while a definitive contract is pending. Casper Labs will be the main lender of Zamfir but it will not be an employee, the company said, and all of its research will remain completely open-source.
"Casper Labs is making a multi-million dollar multi-year commitment to continue funding Zamfir's research on CBC Casper," the company said. "We are very supportive of any projects you use [Vlad’s work on Casper]. We will have a completely public GitHub and completely public research materials, "added Manohar." We are not trying to start the research. Obviously, we hope to bring it to the market first, but we are not believers in exclusivity ".
Manohar made it clear that the Ethereum Foundation is not a direct investor in Casper Labs, but will continue to partially fund Zamfir's work.
The start-up blockchain, set for the official launch next month, has has so far received $ 20 million verbal commitments in its ongoing A round series, backed by funds such as Galaxy and BlockTower. Moreover, The C-level executives have committed personal funds, including President Scott Walker, who is also the president of DNA, an important crypto investment company.
"We are burning 300k a month, we have already spent a little over a million, and we all pay for it personally," Manohar said.
Although Casper Labs is against the clock – and by extension, Ethereum – its founders say they want to contribute to the broader sphere of blockchain. "There are research components that a lot of blockchains share in common," Manohar said.
Meanwhile, Walker added that he has invested in a wide range of projects in addition to Casper Labs.
"I think the winning blockchain will be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. We have no idea what the winning blockchain is [or protocol] is … I love Ethereum, I love Bitcoin. I have made further investments in literally a dozen other protocols [including EOS]. But I've always believed in Vlad, and I hope to help Casper Labs as much as possible, "he said.
Zamfir first discovered Ethereum at the beginning of 2014. He participated in various meetups together with central developers such as Vitalik Buterin and Charles Hoskinson. They then invited Zamfir to join the development team of the Ethereum Foundation in April of that year during its inaugural entry, along with co-founders Vitalik and Gavin Wood.
Initially skeptical of proof-of-stake (PoS) as a consensus algorithm, Zamfir eventually took up the idea after talking to Ethan Buchman, an Ethereum developer at the time, one night. "I connected the points and internalized the power of the security deposit for the pole test, this was the night I got the idea that the PoS would work, and it would be really fun to make it work," wrote Zamfir in a post medium.
Zamfir proposed the update of Casper in August 2015, providing a proof-of-stake implementation that would "allow faster blocking times than is possible with the consent of the proof of work".
He is known as opensource purist, with his Ethis IP is publicly available. The transition to Casper Labs could mean that it focuses less on formalizing the governance process of Ethereum and more on promoting its security. It is also said that Zamfir resigns from the board of directors of RChain, who The block reported to have fallen into financial difficulties last month.
Zamfir could not be reached for comment.