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Andreessen Horowitz Backs Dfinity With Largest Crypto Investment Yet

Dfinity, Cryptocurrency–Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z), the popular venture capital firm of Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, has announced its most ambitious cryptocurrency investment to date in the form of new blockchain project Dfinity. Billed as a company to reinvent cloud computing and challenge the current market leaders of Amazon Web Services and Saleforce, Dfinity looks to implement a cheap, decentralized alternative that utilizes cryptocurrency and blockchain at its core. It refers to its ambitious new project as a “world computer” and “Cloud 3.0”–two statements that have been taking the investment circuit by storm.

Earlier in the week, the company reported securing a $102 million round of funding, with Andreessen Horowitz making up one of the more high profile investors, in addition to the $61 million raised in March. While blockchain based projects are becoming a dime-a-dozen in the current landscape of tech fundraising, Dfinity plans to distinguish itself through a number of innovations related to scalability, in addition to utilizing the already proven secure nature of cryptocurrency. By basing the project on a decentralized framework, Dfinity looks to cut both costs and bureaucratic clutter by removing the singular entity at the heart of the computing enterprise, a step over monolithic competitors like Amazon Web Services.

Speaking in an interview with Fortune and on a blog post about the new project, Chris Dixon of Andreessen Horowitz expanded upon why their firm had placed its largest blockchain-based investment in Dfinity, in addition to praising the prowess of founder Dominic Williams and the development team,

“Decentralized computation networks like DFINITY stand to bring us closer to a world where digital platforms can be constructed from trustless, autonomous, and open source software that is owned and governed by communities of users and developers, rather than companies.”

Dixon is holding to a realistic view of a timetable for Dfinity adoption, as well as how the company can grow via a stepping stone approach to the marketplace. Rather than immediately going after the major clients for both Microsoft and Amazon, Dixon outlines how Dfinity can first find traction in the world of academia and startups while building towards the cost-saving, improved utility features that will be attractive to large firm companies.

While Dfinity has avoided referring to its project as an initial coin offering or in any way issuing coins that come at the cost of regulatory hurdles down the road, the company has been proactive by instituting an airdrop this past May which saw the distribution of $35 million tokens to early investors. The company is eyeing Ethereum as a potential opponent in the space of cryptocurrency, with plans to challenge the second coin by market capitalization as the leader in instituting smart contracts.

Dixon, again speaking with Fortune, attempted to downplay the competition between Dfinity and Ethereum, stating that the two coins will offer complimentary services. However, he did find time to comment that Dfinity is a currency better poised for large projects and overcoming the barrier to scale currently faced by most cryptos, while still lauding Ethereum for its high energy and development enthusiasm.

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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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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Registration for Dfinity's 'Biggest Airdrop Ever' Is Closing Soon

The registration period for what one startup claims to be the largest airdrop ever will come to a close on Friday.

“Decentralized cloud” company Dfinity announced its token distribution plans last week, and revealed in a statement that it will give away 35 million Swiss francs (about $35 million) worth of its DFN tokens to “hundreds of thousands” of community members. The company, which purports to be a “blockchain computer with unlimited capacity,” will launch its network later this year with the aim of staking a claim in the already competitive market of aspiring blockchain cloud computing services.

Backed by major tech investor Andreessen Horowitz and crypto hedge fund Polychain Capital, Dfinity is also in the process of conducting a private sale of its forthcoming cryptocurrency, the conclusion of which the company says will push its total funding to nearly $200 million.

Likewise, unlike other companies in the space, Dfinity has eschewed token distribution via an ICO in favor of what might be called a “compliant airdrop.”

In practice, this means Dfinity community members must undergo and pass a know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) verification process facilitated by AngelList spinoff CoinList before they can benefit from the massive token giveaway. June 8 is the deadline for completing the process.

CoinList previously told CoinDesk that it developed its compliance tool (also dubbed Airdrops) to provide a means for token issuers to conduct airdrops without violating securities laws. Despite this, Dfinity is still excluding U.S. citizens and residents from participating, and cited “regulatory uncertainty” as its rationale in a Medium announcement.

Dfinity community members who are able to participate each stand to gain between around $500 to $2,500 worth of tokens, and those who have followed the projects’ various community channels longest will receive their tokens first.

Unlike other nascent blockchain projects, Dfinity has not carried out fundraising on the ethereum blockchain, meaning it has not sold ERC-20 tokens as “placeholders” until it launches its technology in full. As such, KYC/AML verified community members must wait for the network activation to receive their tokens.

Dfinity expects to launch its blockchain in quarter four.

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.