Coinbase, Paradigm Invest $15 Million in Startup Behind Disappearing Blockchain

Made by the startup O(1) Labs, the lightweight Coda protocol is adding more big-name investors to its cap table.

AccessTimeIconApr 4, 2019 at 4:05 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 9:03 a.m. UTC

A blockchain that makes its blocks disappear has raised a fresh $15 million.

Coda protocol, announced last May as the first project of the startup O(1) Labs, was initially backed by a seed equity round from MetaStable, Electric Capital, Polychain and AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant. Now, investors Accomplice, Coinbase Ventures, Paradigm and General Catalyst are pumping an additional $15 million into the startup.

With Coda, O(1) Labs has been building a blockchain that allows every user to participate in consensus.

CEO Evan Shapiro told CoinDesk in an email:

"We see Coda as way more than just payments, what we're excited about is for Coda to enable new kinds of apps and games made possible by a cryptocurrency with a lightweight blockchain that is way easier to develop for and use."

The O(1) team describes Coda as a succinct blockchain. From its whitepaper: "A succinct blockchain is a blockchain with verification complexity essentially independent of chain length."

It only takes 22 kb to store a copy of the Coda blockchain and that will always be true, Shapiro said. This is possible because Coda uses zk-SNARKs to generate proof that the most recent block and all prior blocks are accurate. Once the proof is generated, even an older smartphone can quickly and easily verify the validity of the proof and story a copy of it locally.

Meanwhile, the main nodes doing the harder worker of generating that proof no longer need to hold onto old blocks if they don’t want to. If the proof checks out, they can be tossed away.

This means that unlike bitcoin, participating in the network as a node doesn't require terabytes of storage space. Every single mobile wallet can participate at that basic level, helping to secure the network and providing confidence to users.

In an email, Ash Egan of Accomplice VC called O(1) Labs "an ambitious team taking a unique approach to the hotly contested base layer protocol category."

What's next

Shapiro declined to indicate a timeline for when Coda tokens will be released. "Expect updates on this in the coming months," he said.

That said, Coda's testnet has been up since September and its protocol has been open sourced on GitHub.

Details are limited, but he promises that developers will be able to build Coda into their applications using only a "script" tag. That is, unlike the extensions ethereum users might be familiar with (such as MetaMask), it will be technically easier to build Coda into something like a video game.

With today's news, O(1) is now inviting users to participate in several ways – such as joining its app program or running nodes.

Accomplice's Egan wrote:

"Coda's approach democratizes consensus, validation and accessibility for users around the world."

Image via Coda website


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