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Privacy startup Nym brings in outside backers for $300 million developer fund

Quick Take

  • A bevy of venture capital firms have committed $300 million to a fund that will incentivize developers to build on Nym’s technology.
  • Cryptography experts will judge applications for grants under the program.

Nym Technologies, a Swiss privacy startup that shields online activity from surveillance using a mixnet, today unveiled a new $300 million fund to entice developers to its ecosystem.

The Nym Innovation Fund has secured $300 million in commitments from a range of venture capital investors, according to an announcement shared exclusively with The Block. Those backers include Polychain, Greenfield One, Huobi Incubator, Tioga Capital, Eden Block, NGC Ventures, HashKey Capital, Figment, Fenbushi Capital, OKX Blockdream Ventures, Tayssir Capital, KR1, Lemniscap and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).

Grants under the program will range from roughly $50,000 to several million dollars, according to Nym’s CEO, Harry Halpin. Nym has not taken in the full $300 million up front, but instead plans to draw on the commitments it has received when necessary. 

“We want to incentivize open source and decentralized developers who we don’t know to start building on this network,” said Halpin in an interview with The Block.

Halpin described Nym as a “decentralized mixing network” which uses blockchain technology to mix the so-called packets — containing potentially sensitive metadata — generated by all internet transactions, including cryptocurrency trades. Haplin said Nym’s mixnet technology shuffles these packets like a deck of cards, preventing even an “NSA [National Security Agency] level adversary” from determining who might be behind them.

Nym’s platform has a potentially wide range of use cases — not all of them in crypto. It could, for example, be used by messaging app Signal to scramble packets connected to communication. The company raised $13 million in a round led by a16z in November last year, bringing its valuation to $270 million.

The launch of the Nym Innovation Fund comes just a few weeks after Nym launched its token across a number of exchanges including OKX and Huobi. Privacy advocate Edward Snowden spoke at the launch event.

Incentivized packet mixing

While similar in some ways to the mammoth incentive funds rolled out in recent months by Ethereum challengers like Avalanche and Algorand, the Nym Innovation Fund doesn’t offer "liquidity mining" rewards.