MIT Academics-Led Blockchain Startup Algorand Raises $62 Million for Enterprise Use

MIT Academics-Led Blockchain Startup Algorand Raises $62 Million for Enterprise Use

Algorand, a blockchain startup launched earlier this year by an MIT computer science professor, has now raised $62 million and named a pair of high-profile Boston tech executives to lead the effort to commercialize its technology.

The funding comes from a list of about 30 blockchain-focused investors from all over the world, including Australia-based Polybius Capital, Singapore-based NEO Global Capital, and London-based Eterna Capital. Boston-based venture capital firm Pillar and New York-based Union Square Ventures, which led Algorand's $4 million seed round in February, also participated in the new funding. The funding, combined with the executive hires, will help launch the revolutionary blockchain protocol designed by MIT’s Silvio Micali.

Micali is a Turing award-winning cryptographer and scientist and his research focus is on information security and cryptography. By providing no incentives in the protocol– as opposed to major blockchain networks like bitcoin and ethereum which generate block rewards for miners – Micali said the goal of Algorand is to achieve both scalability and security so that the protocol can be reliably used by large enterprises.

Algorand was founded on the promise that its particular type of blockchain technology would be better than others, like Bitcoin, when it comes to recording a large number of transactions. Many in the blockchain industry see that capability as key to the widespread adoption of the blockchain, particularly in the business world.

Algorand also prominently stated that it has brought on former Fuze chief executive Steve Kokinos as its CEO and former LogMeIn chief marketing officer Sean Ford as its chief operating officer. The executive hires signal that the startup’s backers think the company is ready to make a commercial push with its blockchain technology, co-developed by Algorand co-founder Silvio Micali, an MIT computer engineering professor and cryptographer who has won the prestigious A.M. Turing Award.

Notably, Kokinos co-founded Fuze (formerly known as ThinkingPhones) in 2005 and helped turn the business communications software firm into one of the Boston area’s best-funded and fastest-growing tech companies.

So far, transaction speeds and high fees have stood in the way of blockchain technology’s scalability. Algorand’s platform, which will launch in early 2019, aims to change that.

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