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Crypto startup Aztec Network scores £82m to encrypt Ethereum

Aztec

London-based startup Aztec has closed a $100m (£82m) Series B funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz’s blockchain investment arm a16z crypto.

Aztec Network is a crypto-security startup looking to provide encryption to the blockchain network Ethereum. Normally, records of transactions made on the Ethereum network are public. According to Aztec, providing privacy to Ethereum is fulfilling the true intention of the decentralised financial technology by removing the need for centralised records.

“What we’re building is a revolutionary piece of technology that transforms how we interact with each other online, in which the end user is the customer, rather than the product,” said Aztec CEO, Zac Williamson.

“End-to-end encrypted blockchains protect individuals, obviating the need for centralised financial systems.”

The startup said that unencrypted blockchains put users at risk of exposing private information and make the use of cryptoassets unsustainable.

“Encryption and privacy will be essential for blockchains to gain widespread adoption, and Aztec is laying that foundation with innovative products like Aztec Connect and Noir,” said Ali Yahya, general partner at a16z crypto.

“We’re incredibly excited to lead this round and help their incredible team pursue their goal of building fully-encrypted Ethereum.”

The round also saw participation from A Capital, King River, Variant, SV Angel, Hash Key, Fenbushi, and AVG.

The startup has said it will largely put the new funds towards hiring engineers to build its encrypted network. In just one year, the team grew from seven to 40, and with the additional capital, it hopes to double the size of the team.

The startup’s Series A came in December 2021, when the company secured $17m (£14m). The latest funding comes amid a challenging funding environment and follows a bruising year for the cryptocurrency industry, which has most recently been rocked by crypto exchange FTX filing for bankruptcy.

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