Oasis Labs raised $45 million for privacy-first cloud computing on blockchain. Oasis’ mission is two-fold: bring privacy and security protections previously not available on a blockchain, and deliver processing capabilities with greater performance than existing systems.
Every startup—at least the good ones—are founded to solve a major problem. Whether they’re successful or not is another story. The problem Oasis is tackling is making blockchain adoption simple. The hurdles to overcome are performance, security, and privacy limitations.
Oasis isn’t the first to identify this problem or its hurdles – it’s not even the first to raise capital in its mission. However, the team’s unique pedigree and track record is reason for optimism.
The team was founded by a combination of academics and entrepreneurs. It previously led three successful startups focused on security and deep learning. The Oasis team previously led several open source projects, and has experts across privacy, security, distributed systems, blockchain, AI, and machine learning.
Privacy and Security Needs To Evolve And Outpace A Quickly Evolving Technology Landscape
Oasis is one of many companies founded to address current internet growing pains. The issue is privacy and security are struggling to keep up with technology’s evolution.
Data is the new currency. Yet many users don’t recognize the value their data holds, let alone understand how businesses are monetizing their data. Artificial Intelligence and IoT are bringing a wealth of new capabilities to the table. It’s increasingly easier for companies to tap harvested personal data. Perhaps more alarmingly, it’s also becoming easier for companies to interconnect into and leverage third party data pools. It’s not about trusting Facebook to properly handle your data. It’s about trusting all its potential partners.
Increasingly interconnected data pools will require security and privacy baked into the foundation. Blockchain is a very promising ingredient. Blockchain offers a lot of promise in securing internet transactions in a wide, general sense beyond cryptocurrency. Think of it as a centralized ledger that enables a decentralized internet.
DCT thinks the open source world and academia are the ideal architects to make the new web private and secure at its foundation. Oasis has identified the promise, but that doesn’t guarantee execution. At least the pesky matter of funding is out of the way.
Not to be Dr. Obvious, but academia and investors speak very different languages. Academia is often driven by social responsibility while investors are laser-focused on profitability. Oasis’ funding shows these goals are not mutually exclusive. In fact, DCT would argue that ethical responsibility and profitability have never been more mutually inclusive, given the current tech landscape.
“The opportunity has never been greater to responsibly leverage data in the web’s next phase of products and innovation,” said Jake Flomenberg, partner at Accel in a release.
“Our goal is to build the scalable and secure decentralized internet that puts users first,” said Oasis Labs CEO Dawn Song.
Oasis’ Open Source Roots Focused On Privacy-First Cloud Computing
The Oasis team previously led a number of open source projects in areas of security and privacy-preserving computing. These projects form the foundation of its technology and approach.
Some of those projects include developing open-source, secure hardware in collaboration with MIT and UC Berkeley research groups. It also led the open source differential privacy project with Uber (DCT will avoid going on a tirade about Uber and assume the executive culling was effective)
A good mix of investors are backing Oasis, across venture capital, crypto funds, and hardware manufacturers. Investors include 16zcrypto, Accel, Binance, DCVC (Data Collective), Electric Capital, Foundation Capital, Metastable, Pantera, Polychain, and more.
Wait – did I read that right? Pantera? Nope, that’s Pantera Capital, not the band responsible for “Cowboys from Hell”. No “Most Metal Backers” award given today, I guess – unless Pantera CEO Dan Morehead can growl like he gargles with gravel.
Side note: a band investing in technology isn’t completely unheard of. The band “Live” backed a fiber project in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, it hit stumbling blocks. I blame it on Live’s very low Metal Quotient.
This story ended a few paragraphs ago, but the opportunity to reference Live investing in fiber doesn’t come up very often. Thanks for indulging me.