Last year, trust was lacking in the crypto industry. One startup, Proven, is trying to change that with new technology.
The New York City-based company, which was founded in 2022, on Thursday announced a $15.8 million funding round led by Framework Ventures that will help it develop its product and grow its team to 12 or 15 people by the end of 2023.
Started by veterans of the financial world from companies like Jane Street and PIMCO, the company faces the age-old conflict of trust in financial markets with a new technology: zero-knowledge proofs. The term describes the use of advanced cryptography to prove something is real while revealing little else. For example, a zero-knowledge proof can be used to confirm that a person is at least 21 years old but does not reveal their birthday or any other personal information.
In the case of Verified, a company can prove that it is honest about financial information without revealing a dead confidential data. Using zero knowledge proofs, with outputs recorded on the Ethereum blockchain, Proven can make checks for regulators or customers every day, without waiting for long and expensive audits, according to CEO and cofounder Rich Dewey,
“It’s run daily with kind of real-time inputs,” Dewey said. “Usually the audits are quarterly, and you’re pretty much looking at a month or two.”
A company’s proven financial verification process also differentiates it from other solutions, says Roy Learner, a partner at Framework Ventures.
“While we’ve seen all kinds of proposed solutions pop up, we feel that Proven differentiates itself by considering both assets and liabilities, removing the opportunity for sleight of hand when it comes to to test reserves,” Learner said in a statement to luck.
At a time when the former giants of the crypto industry, such as FTX and Three Arrows Capitalcollapsed in part because of their lack of transparency, Proven wants to make it easier for crypto companies to build trust with their customers and business partners.
Already, the company’s technology has been implemented in a stablecoin, TrueUSD, and a crypto exchange, Bitso, among others. Proven says its technology is particularly helpful to investors in the crypto space, by aiding in due diligence.
For a client that trusts its money to an asset manager, the technology also helps to provide a proof to the customer that their money is invested how they want without revealing the exact trades made by the manager.
Although the company is focusing on the crypto industry for now, Dewey said it may look to enter the traditional world of finance in the future.
“People are very reluctant to potentially deposit money in an exchange or borrow money, and that’s for crypto and [traditional finance]and so if we can reduce that we think it’s a great benefit to society and a great opportunity.
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