Andreessen Horowitz Backs Dfinity With Largest Crypto Investment Yet
Dfinity, Cryptocurrency–Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z), the popular venture capital firm of Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, has announced its most ambitious cryptocurrency investment to date in the form of new blockchain project Dfinity. Billed as a company to reinvent cloud computing and challenge the current market leaders of Amazon Web Services and Saleforce, Dfinity looks to implement a cheap, decentralized alternative that utilizes cryptocurrency and blockchain at its core. It refers to its ambitious new project as a “world computer” and “Cloud 3.0”–two statements that have been taking the investment circuit by storm.
Earlier in the week, the company reported securing a $102 million round of funding, with Andreessen Horowitz making up one of the more high profile investors, in addition to the $61 million raised in March. While blockchain based projects are becoming a dime-a-dozen in the current landscape of tech fundraising, Dfinity plans to distinguish itself through a number of innovations related to scalability, in addition to utilizing the already proven secure nature of cryptocurrency. By basing the project on a decentralized framework, Dfinity looks to cut both costs and bureaucratic clutter by removing the singular entity at the heart of the computing enterprise, a step over monolithic competitors like Amazon Web Services.
Speaking in an interview with Fortune and on a blog post about the new project, Chris Dixon of Andreessen Horowitz expanded upon why their firm had placed its largest blockchain-based investment in Dfinity, in addition to praising the prowess of founder Dominic Williams and the development team,
“Decentralized computation networks like DFINITY stand to bring us closer to a world where digital platforms can be constructed from trustless, autonomous, and open source software that is owned and governed by communities of users and developers, rather than companies.”
Dixon is holding to a realistic view of a timetable for Dfinity adoption, as well as how the company can grow via a stepping stone approach to the marketplace. Rather than immediately going after the major clients for both Microsoft and Amazon, Dixon outlines how Dfinity can first find traction in the world of academia and startups while building towards the cost-saving, improved utility features that will be attractive to large firm companies.
While Dfinity has avoided referring to its project as an initial coin offering or in any way issuing coins that come at the cost of regulatory hurdles down the road, the company has been proactive by instituting an airdrop this past May which saw the distribution of $35 million tokens to early investors. The company is eyeing Ethereum as a potential opponent in the space of cryptocurrency, with plans to challenge the second coin by market capitalization as the leader in instituting smart contracts.
Dixon, again speaking with Fortune, attempted to downplay the competition between Dfinity and Ethereum, stating that the two coins will offer complimentary services. However, he did find time to comment that Dfinity is a currency better poised for large projects and overcoming the barrier to scale currently faced by most cryptos, while still lauding Ethereum for its high energy and development enthusiasm.