ZK dark pool startup Renegade breaks cover with $3.4 million from Dragonfly, Naval Ravikant

Quick Take

  • Renegade raised a $3.4 million seed round to develop tech which hopes to give better prices to sophisticated traders. 
  • Its so-called dark pool is built on multi-party computation and zero-knowledge proofs. 

Renegade, a start up building a new type of decentralized exchange, emerged from stealth with a $3.4 million seed round, led by Dragonfly Capital and former AngelList CEO Naval Ravikant.

Other investors in the round included Balaji Srinivasan and Lily Liu, Tarun Chitra from Robot Ventures, Marc Bhargava from Tagomi and Lev Livnev from Symbolic Capital Partners, according to a company statement.

Renegade is developing an on-chain version of a dark pool — a trading venue common in traditional financial markets — based on multi-party computation (MPC) and zero-knowledge proofs. 

Although the 18-page whitepaper makes it look fiendishly complicated, Renegade has a simple aim: to allow sophisticated traders to trade at better prices, without alerting the wider market to their intentions. 

In traditional equities markets, dark pools allow institutional investors to buy or sell large quantities of stock with less chance of the price reacting to their monster orders. This is in sharp contrast to DeFi, where all trade information is available for anyone to see.

Swimming in the dark pool

Renegade's tech is designed to improve price execution in DeFi by preventing behavior such as front-running, sandwiches and statistical arbitrage. It aims to provide a trustless platform for trades that avoids the dangers of current decentralized exchanges, the company said. As such, it will anonymously cross order flow directly at midpoint prices.

To be sure, Renegade isn’t the only project in crypto working on building a dark pool-like system. In the Avalanche ecosystem, Enclave is also building something similar.
Renegade is currently in an internal testnet, with a public testnet release slated for the second quarter of 2023.

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