Multicoin, Coinbase Ventures Invest $1.5 Million in 'Decentralized Flickr'

The investment in Textile is aimed to help developers build tools that give web users control of their own data.

Jul 11, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 9:25 a.m. UTC

Multicoin, Coinbase Ventures, BlueYard Capital and Collaborative Fund are backing a new protocol to help developers more smoothly interact with decentralized file storage. The investment takes the form of a $1.5 million seed round in data startup Textile.

Launching on the surface as a decentralized answer to Flickr, Textile has a larger mission: to help users control their own data by using the Interplanetary File System (IPFS). IPFS is an open protocol built by Protocol Labs, the same company that created the Filecoin ICO.

"IPFS's story is under-shared, in my opinion," Textile co-founder and CEO Andrew Hill told CoinDesk. "It's one of the greatest inventions of the past decade and has already proven its value in countless real-world examples."

IPFS creates a new architecture for the web where data is stored by its content rather than its location, which means that multiple copies can be located around the world making the web more efficient. It also makes data less prone to disappearing when a link goes dead.

BlueYard, which led Textile's round, is already an investor in Protocol Labs and other applications that rely on IPFS.

BlueYard co-founder Ciarán O'Leary told CoinDesk in an email:

"We think the internet would be better if we were to re-think it away from the server-client model and create a web where apps would permission data from users, versus the other way around."

O'Leary noted that for as good as the underlying technology is, the web needs software like Textile's to improve its user experience.

Multicoin's Kyle Samani told CoinDesk that his company believes in Web3 and sees that one of its first needs is for a data storage solution. He called Textile an "iCloud for Web3," adding, "Textile is one of the most perfect examples of a Web3 developer tooling infrastructure play."

For both Multicoin and Collaborative Fund, this is their first IPFS-related investment. Collaborative's Taylor Greene told CoinDesk in an email that his firm was already interested in investments that would return data control to internet users.

"Textile is the most elegant solution that we've seen in that space," Greene said.

Interested users can join the waiting list now to use Textile's own photos app, which demonstrates the fundamental functionality of the software. Hill told CoinDesk that Textile "makes it possible for users to own their data, and share (or revoke) that data with trusted applications – or anyone else for that matter."

He added:

"It is not possible to imagine humanity becoming even more digital without a new and thoughtful approach to data ownership and our right to control our own digital data."

Textile at IPFS Camp 2019 image via Twitter

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