Privacy-focused project Nym has raised $300 million from a set of VC firms for a fund aimed at funding ecosystem developers. The NYM Innovation Fund will support research on mixnets and privacy-enhancing technologies. Cryptography experts will judge applications for grants under the program.
Nym Technologies, a Swiss privacy startup that shields online activity from surveillance using a mixnet, unveiled Monday a new $300 million fund to entice developers to its ecosystem.
The Nym Innovation Fund has secured $300 million in commitments from a range of venture capital investors, according to an announcement shared exclusively with The Block. Those backers include Polychain, Greenfield One, Huobi Incubator, Tioga Capital, Eden Block, NGC Ventures, HashKey Capital, Figment, Fenbushi Capital, OKX Blockdream Ventures, Tayssir Capital, KR1, Lemniscap and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).
Grants under the program will range from roughly $50,000 to several million dollars, according to Nym’s CEO, Harry Halpin. Nym has not taken in the full $300 million up front but instead plans to draw on the commitments it has received when necessary.
“We want to incentivize open source and decentralized developers who we don’t know to start building on this network,” Halpin told The Block.
Halpin described Nym as a “decentralized mixing network” which uses blockchain technology to mix the so-called packets – containing potentially sensitive metadata – generated by all internet transactions, including cryptocurrency trades. Haplin said Nym’s mixnet technology shuffles these packets like a deck of cards, preventing even an “NSA [National Security Agency] level adversary” from determining who might be behind them.
Nym’s platform has a potentially wide range of use cases – not all of them in crypto. It could, for example, be used by messaging app Signal to scramble packets connected to communication. The company raised $13 million in a round led by a16z in November last year, bringing its valuation to $270 million.
The launch of the Nym Innovation Fund comes just a few weeks after Nym launched its token across a number of exchanges including OKX and Huobi. Privacy advocate Edward Snowden spoke at the launch event.
In a statement in Nym’s announcement, Halpin said that though the new fund seems large, “it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the endless amounts of cash possessed by vested interests at Silicon Valley companies and nation-states that benefit from mass surveillance.”
“We have new partners that are waiting in the wings to join the fund that we can’t even announce in this initial fund. I’m just thrilled that developers now can finally get paid for building privacy-enhancing technologies,” he added.
Halpin also exclusively told Cointelegraph that the funds will go towards the best academics in the world:
“Cryptocurrency originally had a vision of defending the privacy of ordinary people, but U.S. government funding has historically ignored privacy in favor of NSA mass surveillance. Up until recently, VCs have funded privacy-invasive advertising business models by companies like Facebook.”
NYM token has rallied sharply following Halpin’s announcement on raising a fund. At the time of writing, NYM is trading at $0.9325, up 32% over the previous 24 hours.