A16z Crypto, a venture capital firm, announced a $100 million Series B investment round for the exclusive layer-2 chain Aztec Network on December 15. A Capital, King River, Variant, SV Angel, Hash Key, Fenbushu, and AVG are other investors in the round.
Public blockchains pride themselves on privacy and security, but it has become apparent that the confidentiality of public blockchains is merely relative and not absolute, as some bad actors can still get some sensitive data from the users without their express consent. This problem lit up the vision of having fully encrypted blockchains, of which Aztech is one. Aztech actsis a privacy layer for Web3 blockchains to be more encrypted and secure.
While the protocol has shipped a few products so far, they underscored that they needed to do a lot more and, as a result, need more funds. This led to the commencement of their Series B fundraising round. On Thursday, December 15, 2022, the team behind the protocol shared their excitement with the press as they raised a jaw-dropping sum of $100 million to drive the adoption of strictly private blockchains.
Why a16z Led The Round
a16z, one of the most prominent venture capital firms in tech, championed this round along with some other key industry VCs, including Hash Key, King River, A Capital, Variant, and a few others.
In affirming their motivation for contributing to the round, the VCs noted that zero knowledge is the future of blockchain technology. Thus, any solid protocol building such a privacy-centric product is worth investing in.
On a deeper level, the a16z team told the backstory of their encounters with the co-founders of Aztech—Zac Williamson and Joe Andrews—and their endearing reputations in the blockchain space.
According to them, Zac and Joe were early contributors to the zero-knowledge technology by publishing explanatory papers and building zk-based products.
Considering the Aztech team’s vigor in discovering cutting-edge innovations in blockchain encryption, the A16Z team admitted that they couldn’t be more impressed and had to invest.
What is next for Aztech?
With this funding, the Aztech team is set to revolutionize the blockchain industry with a more substantial blanket of privacy. They plan to double down on building.
Before anything else, Aztech wants to grow Noir, a programming language for writing strictly private blockchains. The simplicity of Noir is essential for engineers to break down the technicalities of creating encrypted blockchains.
Beyond ensuring a more comprehensive understanding and adoption of Noir among developers, Aztech is working on providing more developer-centric tools for more efficient building.
Furthermore, the protocol’s budget for grants has also increased. Therefore, this is a good time for founders to leverage Aztech to build privacy-first Web3 products.
The company is also creating a public-private execution layer for its blockchain that will allow for seamless integration of both encrypted and unencrypted applications. Joe Andrews, a co-founder of Aztec, noted:
“From PGP and SSL to end to end encrypted messaging, we rely on encryption in our daily lives for businesses and commerce to thrive. With a16z we are standing on the shoulders of giants to bring the encryption we have enjoyed since Netscape to our digital Web3.0 lives. We couldn’t think of a better partner to help us scale Aztec to mainstream.”
Finally, the team is expanding across various engineering disciplines; SDK development, tooling, data science, and full-stack engineering.
A Brief Summary
Anyone who has observed the Web3 space recently will notice a trend of VCs directing more funds into cutting-edge infrastructural protocols. For some months now, it has been zk-related blockchains. Recall the recent report from Decentrapress on the $20 million round of Nillion.
The new funds in the Aztech ecosystem can change the protocol’s trajectory if they are disbursed efficiently. Consequently, the future is full of more secure and privacy-first interactions on the blockchain.
It is clear that the industry is beginning to recognize the value of advanced encryption technologies for creating secure and private blockchains. A16z’s investment in Aztech is the latest example of this trend, demonstrating the potential for new and more secure protocols to emerge in the rapidly evolving blockchain space. This round of financing will enable the team to continue innovating and developing their encryption technologies and tools for developers, allowing for more secure blockchains to be created in the future.