Aztec Network takes on encrypted blockchains with $100M round led by a16z • TechCrunch

Web3’s privacy layer, Aztec Network, has raised $100 million in Series B funding led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), startup co-founders Zac Williamson and Joe Andrews told TechCrunch EXCLUSIVELY.

“At a high level, Aztec It’s the encrypted version of Ethereum,” said Andrews. “Normally with Ethereum, everything is public, but we’re encrypting it. That journey has taken us years to play.”

Aztec Network has launched Aztec Connect. ecosystem In July 2021, it will be integrated with Ethereum DeFi protocols such as Aave, Lido and Element Finance. In the future, according to the website, it will be integrated with Compound and five other DeFi protocols of his.

An encrypted blockchain provides transparency to the protocol, but also provides privacy for users, so they don’t have to prove their identity when transacting, Williamson said.

“The world is not good to live without encryption,” says Andrews. “Think about how many things you don’t want people to see throughout your day. Doing things without privacy is a pretty scary world and not what we want.”

Aztec co-founders Joe Andrews and Zach Williamson Image credit: Aztec (opens in new window)

Besides a16z, there were “several major funds and new investors” in the round, whose names Andrews didn’t disclose.

“We chose [a16z] Because they’ve experienced this in the early days of the internet,” said Andrews. “Similar to the situation we find ourselves in. Yes, no, but the same problem. We have this exciting new technology and the opportunity to transform the lives of everyone around the world. but you need encryption to do that.”

The funding will primarily be used to hire more engineers around the world to build the network, Andrews said. Last year, the Aztec team expanded from his seven to about 40, but he added that he hopes to double that number in the near future.

Public blockchains generally have no cryptographic “missing pieces,” said Andrews, and may enable more use cases by providing privacy on a case-by-case basis. Adding cryptography to blockchain technology could “create a wave of personal consumer finance,” among other things, he said.

There are several encrypted blockchains, zcash When iron fish Williamson said Aztec is trying to differentiate itself from the network because it is programmable. “They are a bit like Bitcoin. What you can do with these networks depends on who created them.”

According to Williamson, programmable cryptographic blockchain technology did not exist until recently. “One of the reasons he was able to raise $100 million is because of internal R&D.”

The network is targeting a testnet launch within 12 months, but hopes to have a full mainnet deployment within eight to 24 months, Williamson said. Aztec Connect will be the first application to be integrated into the network, Williamson added.

Longer term, Andrews said, the network wants to create a system where people can transact and coordinate with the level of encryption required for mainstream blockchain adoption.

“The goal is to encrypt the blockchain and use it to undermine the traditional financial services industry,” Williamson said. “If successful, Banks will have many sleepless nights in two to five years.”

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