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$102 Million: A16z, Polychain Back Blockchain Project Dfinity's Funding Round

Decentralized cloud startup Dfinity just raised $102 million to further its work in developing an “internet computer,” TechCrunch reported Wednesday.

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz’s new a16z crypto and Polychain Capital lead the funding round for the Switzerland-based project, which is working to build a decentralized cloud computing platform. Dfinity also saw investments from Multicoin Capital, Scalar Capital, SV Angel, Aspect Ventures, Village Global, Amino Capital, KR1 and, according to TechCrunch, contributions from members of the Dfinity community.

Dfinity claims to have now raised nearly $200 million toward its goal, including through a $61 million fundraising round in February which also saw Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain invest.

The company wants its platform to be publicly accessible, as previously reported. It is scheduled to launch its network later this year, though the company is already running a testnet for its platform.

The company announced earlier this year that it was airdropping roughly $35 million in its DFN tokens to its community, though individuals will not receive any tokens until the mainnet is live.

Dfinity hopes to launch a world computer, referred to as the “cloud 3.0,” by creating a scalable network that is more efficient than proof-of-work but more decentralized than a system with nodes or super nodes, according to TechCrunch.

This network would be capable of hosting the “next generation of software and services,” founder and chief scientist Dominic Williams said. To that end, the network will be open source, which should make it both more secure and cheaper to operate.

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A16z Leads $45 Million Raise for Blockchain Startup Oasis Labs

Cloud computing startup Oasis Labs successfully raised $45 million in a private token pre-sale to develop a blockchain platform aimed to rival Amazon Web Services

The sale, led by Andreessen Horowitz’s new “a16z” crypto fund, saw Accel, Binance, Pantera, Polychain, Metastable, Foundation Capital, Electric Capital, DCVC and Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam all contribute, according to a press release. Most notably, this was a16z’s first investment, Oasis CEO Dawn Song told CoinDesk.

The startup is now focusing on developing its core features, Song said, which will be deployed to the company’s private test network – slated to be opened to the public “soon.”

It’s the startup’s blockchain itself that may be garnering all the investor attention. According to Song, its architecture allows transactions to be verified with “far less duplication while providing the same level of integrity and security guarantees.”

She added:

“In our experiments we see performance orders of magnitude greater than Ethereum. This architecture also supports far more computationally intensive tasks like machine learning and AI, which are not possible with today’s blockchain technologies.”

“Security and privacy [are] built into every layer of the network,” she continued. As a result, the blockchain is built “top-to-bottom” with those two features in mind, ensuring that transactions can be verified without nodes seeing sensitive data and smart contracts will not leak private information.

The applications built upon the network will also differ from those currently being developed for existing platforms, Song explained. “For example, our machine learning framework enables smart contract developers to perform training and inference directly in the smart contract, while preserving privacy of data.”

“Our platform is also backwards compatible with Ethereum, making the transition easy for any developer that is already comfortable with existing tools,” she said.

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Blockchain Project Raises $61 Million from A16Z, Polychain Capital

A blockchain project based in Switzerland has raised $61 million from a group of investors that includes venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz and token hedge fund Polychain Capital.

Announcing the news this morning, DFINITY Stiftung said the funding would go toward development of its blockchain protocol, aimed to support a public decentralized cloud computing platform. According to Reuters, $21 million of the total will be dedicated to development, with the rest devoted to a venture fund aimed at supporting developers and teams working on applications of the protocol.

“Though the DFINITY Foundation is well capitalized, our focus with this financing was to bring in key partners who can provide real strategic value and help distinguish us from the noise in the market,” Dominic Williams, DFINITY’s president and chief scientist, said in a statement.

Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z) has invested in a number of blockchain companies and projects in the space in recent years, having notably bought a stake in exchange startup Coinbase back in 2013. Recent investments include seed funds for DydX (through general partner Chris Dixon), Basecoin, and OpenBazaar, among others.

A16Z also invested in Polychain itself, with the company and fellow VC firm Union Square Ventures buying a $10 million stake in 2016 along with a group of undisclosed investors.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Coinbase and OB1.

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