Ex-Meta developers raise $200 million to launch Aptos blockchain

    19 Mar 2022

    Ex-Meta employees have secured a $200 million funding round from crypto VC giants to develop their own version of the notorious crypto project Diem.

    Recently, Meta (formerly Facebook) abandoned its grand plans to create a digital currency and sold the remaining assets to Silvergate Capital for $182 million.

    The deal showcased how Meta is left with few regulator-blessed paths forward to become a central player in the blockchain ecosystem, a realization which has also cost the company plenty of talent, including crypto boss David Marcus.

    The team behind the original Diem project announced they were working on a new blockchain called Aptos in late February. On March 15, they outlined massive funding round from crypto venture capitals.

    The startup has closed a $200 million strategic investment led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), with participation from Tiger Global, Multicoin Capital, Three Arrows Capital, FTX Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, among others.

    The Aptos team stated that they will not be licensing or utilizing any of the Diem intellectual property that Silvergate owns because they built their own blockchain, Tech Crunch reported. The company’s valuation was not disclosed, but it is likely to be over $1 billion according to the founders, who said it was well “into the unicorn territory.”

    Aptos is another layer-1 blockchain that puts it in competition with Ethereum and Solana. It uses a coding language called Move, with which it aims to attract a large number of developers from existing networks.

    Aptos CEO Mo Shaikh, who previously worked on Meta’s wallet Novi, said he had close connections with the Ethereum community, which the team wants to be a part of:

    “We want to be part of that ecosystem. We’re not here to necessarily compete. We want to complement them and the challenges the community faces — whether it’s something like the wormhole event that took place — give us clear indication that things have to be built responsibly from the ground up.”

    Moreover, Aptos has formally launched its devnet, allowing programmers to experiment and build apps on the blockchain ahead. The team hopes that the mainnet will be launched sometime in Q3.

    “There are great companies like Anchorage, Binance, Blockorus, Coinbase, Livepeer, Moonclave, Paxos, Paymagic, Rarible and Streaming Fast in our community already giving feedback, and contributing code on Devnet,” the report wrote.

    Aptos CTO Avery Ching commented that “current blockchains are just not as reliable as existing financial rails, we’ve seen issues of downtime and outages that last for hours,” presumably in reference to Solana’s multiple recent outages.

    Should Aptos find its footing, it would be a stunning reversal for Diem – a project that was much ballyhooed in 2019 but was fatally crippled by regulatory blowback in the subsequent two and a half years. Notably, the blog post makes no mention of the proposed stablecoins that riled lawmakers in the US and abroad.

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