On August 16th, New York-based Blockstack has launched a $25 million venture capital fund that is aimed at pushing along a new, decentralized version of the Internet. However, unlike many ICOs raising funds through retail investors, the Blockstack Signature Fund will distribute money from only active venture capitalists.
According to Blockstack, this fund will be dedicated to “rapidly accelerating startups building decentralized applications on the platform, and tools for developers to bootstrap their apps, with tokens on the Blockstack network — just like you see with Ethereum.”
Co-Founder Muneeb Ali explained the fund is a way to bring together decentralized app builders and the venture capital community. The fund is backed by Compound, Lux Capital, OpenOcean, RisingTide Capital, and VersionOne. Each of the firms has committed resources and will evaluate investment options in exchange for a stake in the company on a one-by-one basis.
“The VCs involved in the fund will take a look at that application and make an independent decision to fund that company or not. Our intention here is to bring together sophisticated investors, people who have been thinking a lot about decentralization and can do their due diligence.”
“What we are doing is opening up this channel between app developers on Blockstack and venture capital, so that [developers] can actually go and talk to these investors, get feedback from them and then potentially get some money to build out their apps.”
He added, “We think that traditional venture capital has its place, and a very important place in this ecosystem, along with these new ways of raising money.”
Blockstack has explained that developers who use the platform will be eligible for “XPRIZE-style prizes and bounties for large initiatives such as building a decentralized microblogging platform, funded by investors like Naval Ravikant, and Albert Wenger.”
Ali explained, “We are at a stage where some of the developers are incredibly excited about building apps and usually get in touch with us. If developers get in touch with us with an app that they are excited about, this is one funding channel we can point them to.”
Blockstack was founded in 2013 as Onename. It offers the first implementation of a decentralized DNS system on the Bitcoin blockchain. The company combines DNS functions with public key infrastructure and is typically meant to be used by new applications in the blockchain. Blockstack became operational on the blockchain in September of 2015. As of March of last year, the company was the largest non-financial system using the bitcoin blockchain when considering transaction volume.
Blockstack released a decentralized browser add-on in May of this year, which is described as “a kind of Netscape for the decentralized internet, running apps on a plethora of block chains.” It allows developers the use of Blockstack tools to create consumer apps and works on any browser.
Blockstack has previously gained about $5.45 million in seed and Series A investments. Investors included Ben Davenport, Compound, Digital Currency Group, Dorm Room Fund, Kal Vepuri, Lux Capital, Marc Bell Ventures, Naval Ravikant, Rising Tide, Shana Fisher, SV Angel, Union Square Ventures, Version One Ventures, and Y Combinator.