- Series D valuation of $8 billion comes on the heels of a $2 billion valuation just six months ago.
- StarkWare processes more transactions than Bitcoin, and is the leading ‘scaling’ solution for crypto projects trying to overcome the fact that blockchain is congested, and expensive to use.
- Deal was closed in the thick of a crypto bear market. Company says this emphasizes high investor confidence in its tech, which is ‘infrastructure we’ve all been waiting for to move to Web3.’
TEL AVIV, Israel, May 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — StarkWare Industries, inventor of technology to make blockchain scalable for mass adoption, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $100M at a valuation of $8 billion.
StarkWare‘s Series D funding comes six months after its Series C which valued the company at $2 billion. The new round led by Greenoaks Capital and Coatue, and includes Tiger Global and other new and existing investors. There is a secondary transaction as part of the round, in which employees company-wide are selling stocks.
“This is a vote of confidence for the tech stack we‘ve built, which makes blockchain scalable for mass use, and cuts transaction fees incurred by users,” said StarkWare Co-founder and CEO Uri Kolodny.
“The math-based technology we‘ve rolled out, known as STARKs, will serve businesses and the crypto community through thick and thin. We‘re encouraged that VCs are signaling their strong support, even in the midst of a bear market.”
StarkWare has deployed STARKs, a class of mathematical systems developed by company Co-founder and President Eli Ben-Sasson and other computer scientists, in order to enable far more efficient use of blockchain.
It cuts fees by reducing the amount of information written to the blockchain. It speeds up transactions by alleviating heavy blockchain congestion. And it provides a way for blockchain to scale without any dilution of its original vision – the math ensures it remains a network that runs with absolute integrity.
StarkEx handles more transactions than Bitcoin
StarkWare‘s first platform, StarkEx, in use for two years, today handles more transactions than Bitcoin. It compresses them using STARKs, before adding them to the Ethereum blockchain.
Businesses in finance and NFTs use StarkEx to overcome the problem of crippling congestion on blockchain, which causes delays and high transaction fees. Blockchain use is made cheaper and faster.
Applications have used StarkEx to facilitate transactions of more than half a trillion dollars ($500,000,000,000). And since the NFT market sprung to life in 2021, it became hugely popular for facilitating minting and trading NFTs, making minting 20,000 times cheaper than transacting directly on Ethereum. The public benefits from StarkWare‘s NFT services via fantasy soccer game Sorare and via the carbon-neutral platform Immutable X.
StarkEx scales some of the biggest crypto success stories, including the finance platform dYdX. Numerous other blockchain projects are preparing to onboard to StarkEx in the coming months, including long-established companies that are looking to move into crypto.
Tech to make Web3 a reality
In late 2021 StarkWare made a move that propelled its technology to the heart of the Web3 revolution. Instead of reserving it for StarkEx clients, it created the StarkNet Alpha platform, which is constantly evolving, where any developer can use it to build blockchain apps.
Eli Ben-Sasson, Co-founder and President at StarkWare, said: “Tomorrow‘s tech and economy will be heavily based on blockchain, and absolutely everyone developing it needs a solution to the congestion and high transaction fees we see today.
“We‘re delivering this to clients via StarkEx, which is saving them millions of dollars in transaction fees weekly and opening up new possibilities for them. But we want everyone to be able to use our tech, so we are building and constantly improving StarkNet, in the hope it will empower any developer to build ultra-efficient blockchain apps.”
‘A blockchain building boom is starting‘
Ben-Sasson added: “StarkNet will be the infrastructure we‘ve all been waiting for to move to Web3, a blockchain-based network as big as the internet, from the realm of science fiction to reality.
“The vision is that as it evolves, StarkNet will enable anyone who ever built a website can use StarkNet to construct a blockchain app that will be part of the Web3 revolution, pioneering new and exciting uses for blockchain. There‘s a huge global community of StarkNet developers, who now have the tools to start a blockchain building boom that will soon make blockchain apps as mainstream as smartphone apps. In time, this community won‘t just use StarkNet, but will also run the platform.”
Ben-Sasson was referring to the next stage in StarkNet‘s evolution. While StarkWare will continue to offer a blockchain scaling cloud service via StarkEx, it plans to soon decentralize StarkNet, meaning it will, like the internet and Ethereum, be controlled by everyone and by no-one.
In crypto jargon the scaling platforms are known as Layer 2 solutions to blockchain‘s scaling bottleneck. They compress information from transactions into STARK proofs, before they reach the Ethereum blockchain, Layer 1 — such that transactions are still fully secured by Ethereum.
Neil Mehta, Managing Partner at Greenoaks Capital, said: “Unlocking the full potential of Web3 will require achieving the high throughput and low fees that users demand. We think Starkware is the best L2 scaling solution in the world, with profound underlying technology, a burgeoning developer community, and a team that has earned real credibility through years of research and innovation. StarkWare already underpins the largest apps in Web3, and we are delighted to partner with their team as they continue to power many more.”
Luca Schmid, General Partner at Coatue, said: “High transaction fees and limited bandwidth on blockchains are inhibiting the mass adoption of crypto today. StarkWare is solving this with Validity Rollups that we believe will allow blockchain apps to serve millions of customers seamlessly. Coatue is thrilled to partner with Uri, Eli and the rest of the StarkWare team for the next phase of their journey.”
StarkWare, a four-year-old startup, offers a cryptographic compression service which allows blockchains to scale by orders of magnitude. The service is based on a class of cryptographic technologies, known as STARK proofs, which was invented by company President and co-founder Eli Ben-Sasson with other computer scientists.
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