UPDATED 13:30 EST / MARCH 15 2022

BLOCKCHAIN

Aptos raises $200M to bring the Diem blockchain back to life

Aptos Labs, a startup built by employees who developed the blockchain behind Meta Platform Inc.’s now-defunct payment system Diem, today said that it has raised $200 million in strategic funding led by Andreessen Horowitz.

Coinbase Ventures, FTX Ventures, Tiger Global, Multicoin Capital, 3 Arrows Capital, ParaFi Capital, Irongrey, 3 Arrows Capital, Paxos and others also participated in the funding round.

The ill-fated Diem Association was a cryptocurrency initiative by Meta to develop a highly accessible cross-border payment system. However, the company was unable to deal with regulatory scrutiny involving the cryptocurrencies it wanted to create and the assets involved in Diem were acquired by Silvergate Capital Corp. in January for about $182 million.

At around that same time, Aptos was formed with a different mission: to develop a safe, scalable, blockchain network free of the bureaucracy that had led to the collapse of Diem.

“Aptos is for people who want to build software that touches billions of other people,” Aptos Chief Executive Mo Shaikh said. “Over the past months we’ve talked with hundreds of developers, brands, and companies about their projects. They’re building next-gen social media platforms, rich nonfungible token experiences, Web3 games, creator-first media and entertainment businesses, cheap and secure payments, DeFi-integrated fintech products, and so much more.”

Web3 is what technologists describe the next iteration of the World Wide Web, a decentralized ecosystem of token economics built upon blockchain technology where data flows peer-to-peer without the need for middlemen. In essence, it allows people to arbitrate their own contracts in code and then have them self-execute when certain conditions are met.

The objective is to allow computers to regulate activities autonomously with as little human intervention as possible in order to reduce error and allow secure transactions between parties. It has led to interesting innovations such as decentralized finance, known as DeFi, which allows money transactions, loans, credit and more using blockchain technology.

Chris Dixon, general partner at a16z, said that he saw blockchains as a “new class of computers that can make strong guarantees that the code they run will operate as designed.” In short, blockchain technology inverts the power relationship between people and computers, he wrote in a blog post tackling the subject. “For the first time, a computer system can be truly autonomous: self-governed, by its own code, instead of by people.”

Aptos is building its own blockchain based on what its employees learned while working on the Diem codebase and have released it as open source. The network is already up and the docs are live. It also uses numerous elements from Diem including the Move programming language.

Developers can begin building distributed apps right now and run them on the Aptos devnet immediately. The company is looking forward to feedback and contributions from its community as it continues the roadmap towards the public mainnet launch, which the company expects will happen in the third quarter of 2022.

The Aptos has already partnered with a number of companies in the Web3 ecosystem for feedback on the project including the cryptocurrency exchanges Binance and Coinbase, video infrastructure platform Livepeer and NFT platform Rarible.

Image: Aptos Labs

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