CasperLabs, the startup working to improve Ethereum 2.0 scalability without sacrificing decentralization or speed, has raised $14.5 million in Series A funding, according to an announcement on Tuesday.
The investment is led by financier Terren Peizer, dubbed the "Zelig of Wall Street", via his personal holding company, Acuitas Group Holdings.
Peizer said he has been following and studying the crypto and blockchain space since its “earliest days,” and had been waiting for a company that can “build the strength and decentralized aspects of a public chain with the speed, security, and scalability of a next-gen platform.”
"Scalability of a product and company is the leading driver of value creation. Consistently, the most proficiently scalable company becomes the industry leader,” he added.
Other investors in the Series A include Arrington XRP Capital, Consensus Capital, Blockchange Ventures and Axiom Holdings Group, among others. The Series A was fully-subscribed at a pre-money valuation of $30 million, Cliff Sarkin, EVP of Partnerships at CasperLabs, told The Block.
The new funding will be utilized to hire 10-15 people over the next half-year or so across its teams of engineers, architects, and academics, Medha Parlikar, CTO of CasperLabs, told The Block. “We will be investing in our core technical team, as well as important initiatives including ecosystem support, usability and experience, and more," she said. CasperLabs’ current headcount is 28, out of which 21 are part of its core tech team, Parlikar added.
CasperLabs said it is working to solve the “scalability trilemma,” as well as building a developer-friendly platform to build and operate decentralized apps (dApps). The effort is being led by one of Ethereum’s lead researchers, Vlad Zamfir, who joined the firm earlier this year.
Zamfir was leading a popular version of Casper protocol (Casper Correct by Construction or CBC) at Ethereum to address scalability issues. But while Ethereum’s deadline for the CBC upgrade is not for another few years, CasperLabs is focused on offering the upgrade even sooner.
“We have been working hard to build the first concrete protocol implementation of CBC-Casper that is provably live and safe. The CBC-Casper whitepaper doesn't define the complete protocol, so we're excited to share some big news on this topic soon,” Parlikar told The Block.
CasperLabs' project began last year, and its goal is to make blockchain simple for businesses to use. CasperLabs’ system is designed to be “future-proof -- we’ve made design decisions that make the network and the apps upgradeable,” the startup’s chief marketing officer, Kevin Watt, told The Block.
Watt added that CasperLabs is also working with “companies who have been blocked by other, first-generation technology, making sure they and the next generation of builders can bring their businesses and apps to life on CasperLabs.”
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