Fireblocks, a platform for securing digital assets in transit, announced today $16 million in Series A funding from investment heavyweights including Cyberstarts, Tenaya Capital, and Eight Roads -- the proprietary investment arm of Fidelity International. The additional capital will enable the company to build out its infrastructure, and court additional firms.
Spurred to action following a series of high-profile hacks, founders Michael Shaulov and Pavel Berengoltz aimed to eliminate the root cause of digital asset hacks and scams, i.e. private key theft, spoofing, and compromised credentials.
Shaulov told CoinDesk, he and his colleague from Lacoon Mobile Security -- which was acquired by Check Point in April 2015 -- “reprioritized” their target clients from “traditional financial infrastructure to crypto,” following the “clearly sophisticated hacking by true professionals, including nation states.”
What they built -- along security engineers from Symantec, Trusteer, IBM security and leading cryptography advisor, Prof. Ran Canetti -- was a cloud-based security platform that eliminates the hassle of copy and pasting addresses and enables the seamless flow of funds.
“While Blockchain based assets by themselves are cryptographically secure, moving digital assets is a nightmare. After interviewing over 100 institutional customers, including hedge funds, broker-dealers, exchanges, and banks, we concluded that the current process is slow and highly susceptible to cyber attacks and human errors,” Shaulov said in a statement.
Fireblocks enables digital assets to be easily transitioned from any state of storage and primed for immediate settlement and transfer on the blockchain using chip-level security and MPC technology. The platform also allows the use of several layers of security including passwords, biometrics, and two-factor identification, which have become industry standard.
What sets Fireblocks apart, however, is the level of programmable control available to client accounts. The platform allows for tranches of authorization and access among those using the service to control the flow -- in terms of timing and amount -- of transactions. This allows financial institutions that have different types of employees, from traders to operations managers, all with access to digital funds, to set different permissions for different scenarios.
At issue was a matter of speed as much as security. Shaulov said, “New uses of blockchain cannot rely on gaps in service. [Investors] need assets to be available, interactable, and transferable.”
“There was a need to take assets, either native to the blockchain or tokenized assets or securities, and move, trade, sell them in a reasonably fast time frame,” Shaulov said. “Keeping assets locked down in cold storage like a traditional custodian is antithetical in the way [investment firms dealing in crypto] operate.”
Fireblocks released its product last quarter and has already overseen hundreds of millions of dollars worth of digital asset transfers, according to Shaulov. “The technology itself can be used for any financial use case of blockchain.”
The company is integrated with 15 digital asset exchanges and offers support for over 180 cryptocurrencies, tokens, and stablecoins. Shaulov added that he’d like to build the infrastructure used by small and large merchants as they adoption of digital assets as a payment method becomes widespread.
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