Chain Secures $9.5M in Funding, Founder: Bitcoin’s Promise to “Hit the Reset Button on the Financial System is Real”

Bitcoin API provider Chain raised US$9.5M in a funding round led by Khosla Ventures, bringing its total funding to US$13.7M.

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Chain Secures $9.5M in Funding, Founder: Bitcoin’s Promise to “Hit the Reset Button on the Financial System is Real”

Bitcoin API provider Chain raised US$9.5M in a funding round led by Khosla Ventures, bringing its total funding to US$13.7M.

The funding round included additional investments from venture capitalists Kevin Ryan and Barry Silbert as well as VC investment firms RRE Ventures, Thrive Capital and SV Angel.

According to the official announcement, Keith Rabois, investment partner at Khosla Ventures and former chief operating officer at electronic payment system provider Square, has joined Chain's board and will provide with knowledge and expertise in finance and operational management. The release reads:

"This funding will allow us to invest heavily in building the world’s most reliable and robust Bitcoin infrastructure for developers, enterprises, and financial institutions."

Chain builds Bitcoin APIs and helps developers build apps with as much ease as possible by providing quick access to the blockchain. Based in California, Chain was founded by Adam Ludwin, who is also an investor at VC firm RRE Ventures, one of Chain's early backers. According to Ludwin, the funding will be partly dedicated to the growth of Chain's engineering team:

"The company is currently based in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but we’re moving everything to San Francisco in September, then we’ll be hiring pretty quickly."

Bitcoin is a "tremendous financial innovation that’s changing the world," and Chain is "really excited to play a central role in that," said Ludwin. He added:

"The promise that Bitcoin offers to basically hit the reset button on the financial system is real."

Bitcoin startups have attracted huge amounts of money from VC firms and investors since the beginning of 2013. While VC investments are starting to strike emerging markets, the three most funded Bitcoin startups are based in the US: Xapo with a publicly disclosed total funding of US$40M, BitPay US$32.51M and Coinbase US$31M.

Ludwin explained this fad:

"I think they now recognize the huge commercial potential of the technology. [...]Every single top-tier firm is taking Bitcoin incredibly seriously."

According to the NY Times, Chain has helped more than a thousand developers in building Bitcoin-related products, and is now in talks with big financial institutions desiring to implement Bitcoin in their products.

Regarding Chain's ambitions and perspectives, Ludwin said he was interested in exploiting the blockchain technology itself and hoped Chain's products and services will eventually attract non-Bitcoin-related businesses and services.

On July 18, Chain released a demo iOS app with an innovative feature. The iOS 8 Touch ID Wallet enables its users to send bitcoins using fingerprint recognition technology. The demo wallet was built with Chain's API and Apple's Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Here's the video demo:

While many Bitcoin businesses are focusing on building easy and sleek products to boost Bitcoin acceptance, the security issue cannot be dismissed. In fact, Chain recommended, "only using this sort of implementation with small amounts of money [...] and using multi-sig and cold storage for storing larger amounts, ideally spread across multiple services."  


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