Dfinity Raises $61M for Blockchain-Based Open Cloud

Dfinity, a startup that aims to build a new blockchain-based cloud, raised $61 million from investors Polychain Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.

Today’s venture round follows an initial coin offering a year ago that closed after the company raised around $3.9 million.

The company today also announced that Polychain established a “substantial Dfinity Ecosystem Venture Fund” to finance projects that support the Dfinity Internet Computer — essentially a scalable open cloud supported by a decentralized network of computers that will compete against the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google.

With the new venture arm,“total funding for our project will exceed $100 [million],” wrote Dominic Williams, president and chief scientist at Dfinity, in a blog post. “With this, you can expect Dfinity to begin to emerge from the dark.”

Its developers expect to launch the Internet Computer by the end of the second quarter.

What Is Dfinity?

The company’s website describes its technology as an “an Ethereum-family technology” that is fully compatible with the public Ethereum network.

But it isn’t based on Ethereum, which is an open-source, blockchain-based computing platform. The Dfinity teams points out several differences between the networks.

“Dfinity introduces new crypto:3 protocols and techniques that aim to deliver extreme performance, unlimited scalability, interoperability, and other benefits,” the website says. “Another difference is that whereas in Ethereum ‘The Code is Law,’ Dfinity introduces governance by a decentralized intelligence called the Blockchain Nervous System.”

The plan to build a decentralized cloud first materialized last year.

“This open network will enable the fabric of the Internet to play the role of cloud provider using novel blockchain computer technology that makes powerful and highly disruptive applications possible,” according to an August 2017 press release.

The Enterprise and Beyond

Additionally, Dfinity will slash enterprise IT costs because it will enable these systems to run with less humans involved, wrote Williams in an earlier blog post. And blockchain provides built in security, he added.

“The platform is unstoppable and data inside software persists automatically, often removing the need for continuity planning, backup and restore, and traditional database management systems,” Williams wrote. “Since the system is tamperproof, and there are no backends for hackers to gain access to, the need for security administration is reduced as well.”

The company completed a global 500 node testnet in October 2017. It showed Dfinity’s network finalized computations in one second, Williams said.

By comparison, Ethereum blockchain requires 600 seconds and Bitcoin needs 3,600 seconds. “This is running 600-times faster than Ethereum is today,” Williams said in a video about the test.