Big Whale Labs raises $3.8M for its Web3 pseudonymity protocol
The startup is building an open-source protocol to power privacy and security in crypto transactions.
Big Whale Labs, a startup aiming to enable pseudonymity in Web3, has raised USD $3.8 million in seed funding, the company announced today.
In a blog post, CEO Jason Kim revealed the new funding, which was co-led by by M13 and Road with participation from Slow Ventures, C2, Goodwater, Panache, NFR, former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan, Roman (founder of Tornado Cash), and other unnamed sources. In addition to USD $655,000 in a pre-seed from last October, the startup has secured USD $4.4 million in total.
The problem: Since open blockchains like Ethereum are public ledgers, they can be used as trustless and transparent systems for various use cases. However, there are significant privacy tradeoffs that users forfeit by using these types of blockchains. For example, if a person’s wallet address is known, everyone can look at all their transactions, including NFTs, decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) membership, or other personally identifiable info.
The solution: To solve this issue, while maintaining trust and security, Big Whale is creating an open-source, privacy-preserving social protocol powered by zero-knowledge (zk) proofs, called SealCred. Kim explains that its protocol is meant to allow users to “easily create pseudonymous identities (wallets) and transfer social capital from wallet A to wallet B,” ensuring transactions can be verified without the actors being personally identified.
A local investor’s (s)take: “I’ve been following Jason and Big Whale Labs since even before I joined Panache,” said Chris Neumann, partner at Panache Ventures. “The problem they’re solving — reconciling the desire for pseudonymity and the need for trust — is incredibly important to the future of Web3 and we’re excited to support them in their mission.”
What’s next: Big Whale’s work has the potential to impact many blockchain use cases. It’s starting with NFTs, then will be looking at social account verification and follower count, email, school affiliation, and operations related to DAOs.
Vancouver-based Kim is one of 10 remote employees. He says the startup is looking to add team members focused on product and protocol development over the coming months.
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