29 Oct 2018

Our Investment in StarkWare: Creating a Secure, Scalable Future for Blockchain

Permissionless blockchains, like the ones that power most digital currencies, allow anyone to participate. But that freedom means that everyone sees everyone (transactions are not necessarily private) and everyone does everything (causing limited transaction throughput).

That’s why Professor Eli Ben-Sasson and Professor Alessandro Chiesa, Uri Kolodny, and Michael Riabzev decided to found StarkWare. They’re creating a product that builds on zero knowledge proofs, or a way of authenticating something without giving away information. For example, proving to someone that you have over a certain amount in your bank account without actually telling them how much you have in your account ( for a great simple explanation, read this .). StarkWare’s solution is efficient and transparent, and can be applied to many blockchains, potentially making it a fundamental solution in solving the privacy issues inherent in today’s permissionless blockchains while increasing transaction speed. The compression that Starkware allows reduces costs by 100x, which will be fundamental to any cryptocurrency looking to become widely adopted.

Atomico is excited to announce we’re participating in StarkWare’s Series A to back these experienced founders alongside some of the most knowledgeable investors in this space, including Paradigm (co-founded by Matt Huang, formerly a partner at Sequoia, and Fred Ehrsam, co-founder of Coinbase), Pantera Capital, Sequoia Capital, Coinbase Ventures and existing investor Naval Ravikant. Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin also participated in StarkWare’s Seed round.

At Atomico, we believe in founders who want to use technology to rewire the world in favour of something better for as many people as possible. StarkWare does just that by paving the way for more privacy and institutional integrity for blockchain.

We also believe that blockchain has the potential to disrupt entire industries and is here to stay despite the boom-bust headlines. We’re still just at the beginning of a new era of decentralised trust. Just like with the start of the Internet, it is hard to predict what can be built on the technology in the next 10 years, but it’s clear that fundamental solutions such as StarkWare’s will be needed.

StarkWare’s visionary team has already proven themselves pioneers in this space and in entrepreneurship. Professor Eli Ben-Sasson and Professor Alessandro Chiesa created the cryptocurrency Zcash. Uri Kolodny has already founded several startups before.