Interview

Bison Trails Founder on Libra Membership & $25.5M Funding Round

Joe Lallouz speaks on the future of blockchain infrastructure and the company that he founded, Bison Trails.

The adoption of blockchain technology is on the rise–slowly, perhaps, but surely. The market has grown considerably over the last several years, and is expected to continue to increase in size; analyst Shanghong Liu predicts that global spending on blockchain infrastructure will increase to $16 billion by the year 2023, up nearly seven times from the $2.7 that is projected to have been spent this year.

Therefore, the demand for services that can help companies and other organizations build out their blockchain platforms is likely to increase considerably. Recently, Finance Magnates spoke to Joe Lallouz, founder and CEO of Bison Trails. Bison Trails is an NYC-based blockchain infrastructure firm that helps to build enterprise-grade solutions for entities that offer blockchain-based products and services.

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Bison trails is also a founding member of the Libra Association and completed a $25.5 million funding round last month. We asked Joe about Bison Trails’ decision to join Libra, how Bison Trails plans to use its funding, what the future holds for the company, and what needs to happen before the world sees mainstream adoption of blockchain.

Joe Lallouz, founder and CEO of Bison Trails.

“We want to help grow the entire blockchain ecosystem, to democratize access and to enable the pioneers of tomorrow.”

Joe Lallouz explained to Finance Magnates that the firm works to provide “a multi-cloud, geographically distributed infrastructure platform with enterprise-grade security, orchestration, redundancy, and scaling to run highly efficient nodes on blockchain networks.”

What does this mean on a practical level? “Running nodes that participate on blockchain protocols is very challenging,” Joe explained. So, Bison Trails has “built a VPS-independent platform that makes running participation node clusters effortless, helping to keep decentralized networks decentralized.”

For example, Bison Trails could be hired to help entities that have built decentralized applications (dApps) on top of a blockchain network run the operations necessary to make sure that their dApp is functioning properly.

“We’re also protocol-agnostic,” Joe added. “We want to help grow the entire blockchain ecosystem, to democratize access, and to enable the pioneers of tomorrow.”

Therefore, Bison Trails’ goal is to “increase reliability while reducing costs and overhead for our customers. By serving as a dedicated team of Protocol, Security, DevOps, and Infrastructure Engineering experts, we remove the need for our customers to develop those capacities in-house.”

“We help our customers with all of their infrastructure needs: launching; managing, monitoring, and scaling; securing their infrastructure; and handling network upgrades,” he continued.

”Our focus is providing validating infrastructure for custodians, exchanges, Fortune 500 companies, and funds.”

Joe explained that “our technology platform provides enterprise-grade security, multi-cloud and multi-region distribution, and a 99.99% uptime guarantee.”

The service is available to “anyone looking for an easier way to participate in established and emerging blockchain networks or those looking to implement blockchain infrastructures into their businesses.”

“Our focus is providing validating infrastructure for custodians, exchanges, Fortune 500 companies, and funds. We’re the preferred infrastructure provider for key protocol projects & a trusted brand,” Joe added.

So far, Bison Trails has been hired by “leading exchanges, custodians, funds and token-holders. Our platform is unique and live, ahead of major protocol launches.”

”Our goal is to ensure the Libra network is decentralized, secure, and well-orchestrated.”

Bison Trails is also a founding member of the Libra Association, the entity formed by Facebook that will eventually be responsible for running the nodes of the Libra blockchain network. If (or when) Libra is successfully launched, Facebook intends for Libra to serve as a global financial network that will bank the unbanked and be used as a means to easily send payments across borders.

Joe said that Bison Trails’ decision to become a part of the Libra association is “consistent with our approach for every blockchain protocol on the Bison Trails Platform.”

“Our goal is to ensure the Libra network is decentralized, secure, and well-orchestrated, with the infrastructure in place to support billions of transactions,” he told Finance Magnates.

Joe also explained that the decision to participate in Libra stems from the alignment of the two entities’ values: “the Libra network is designed to be transparent by default. It represents a major leap forward towards a financially inclusive world. This aligns well with our vision of democratizing access to the decentralized future.”

“At Bison Trails, we want to see the entire blockchain ecosystem flourish. The scale of the Libra network vision is ambitious,” Joe said. “We anticipate this launch moving the world much closer to the mass adoption of cryptocurrency, potentially triggering a global inflection point towards decentralization.”

Even if Libra ultimately doesn’t launch, Joe said that the company is eager to involve itself with projects that have similar goals and similar scales: “we’d be thrilled to be a part of similar initiatives and a few upcoming ones in the works already,” he told Finance Magnates.

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Bison Trails beyond Libra

Beyond its involvement in Libra or similar potential involvement in similar projects, Joe explained that “Bison Trails is on a mission to help grow the entire blockchain ecosystem, to democratize access and to enable the pioneers of tomorrow.”

Indeed, “Bison Trails’ goal is to enable pioneers to drive business and society forward while opening up new pathways for innovation,” Joe explained.

“By bringing transparency and ease to entrepreneurs bold enough to build in a decentralized ecosystem, investors wise enough to back a nascent market, and enterprises courageous enough to commit to a technological inevitability like blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, Bison Trails is enabling greater access and participation in the decentralized future.”

Users don’t need to know they’re interacting with a blockchain

Joe said that he believes that “for blockchain technology to reach mainstream adoption, it needs to be abstracted away from the user experience so that mainstream users of these products don’t need to necessarily understand or directly interact with the blockchain itself.”

“Bison Trails is empowering entrepreneurs and companies to engage and build these better products and services on the blockchain using transformative technology, through our platform and services. By making this easier, more efficient, and more cost-effective, Bison Trails helps teams focus on improving their core experience and is helping build a future where blockchain is a mainstream technology.”

Bison Trails completed a $25.5 million Series A funding round in June

Recently, the firm raised $25.5 million in a Series A funding round that was led by Blockchain Capital; Joe explained that the money would be used to “help us continue to be the easiest and safest way to participate in a blockchain network securely through staking, voting, and validating.”

“We will be opening the platform out of limited beta to a wider market, and are excited to announce our new network roadmap which includes: NuCypher, Near, Libra, Telegram, Edgeware, Skale, Polkadot, Solana, Mobilecoin, Coda, Enigma, Ava, Ethereum 2.0, Celo, Keep, Filecoin, Dfinity, etc,” Joe continued.

“We are also excited to share that this funding will allow us to grow our team to meet market demand and pursue new opportunities which include building [and] announcing partnerships with leading exchanges and custodians.”

And what of the company’s competition within the space? Joe explained that there isn’t much concern–”we don’t have many real competitors from a technical perspective,” he said.

“Although there are several companies offering similar technology platforms, we believe our platform is the most robust when it comes to secure, scalable block-production and protocol participation infrastructure…We’re the only platform built with enterprise-grade key management solutions.”

The future of Bison Trails

Where does Joe see the company in five years?

“In any space with emerging technology, some innovations will succeed and find traction while other efforts will not,” he told Finance Magnates.

“While we can’t realistically predict which new protocols and initiatives will see mainstream adoption in 5 years, it’s safe to say we’ll remain true to our protocol-agnostic approach as a company.”

“We envision a future in which Bison Trails’ technology and services support the entire ecosystem’s growth, democratizing access to the decentralized future and enabling pioneers from the United States and around the world to build on the blockchain securely.”

As for the year ahead, Joe said that the company would be focusing on “opening the platform, out of a limited beta, to a wider market,” as well as “actively working with founding members [of the Libra Association] to move the technology forward, from testnet to mainnet launch.” Bison Trails will also be working on building its internal team and creating new partnerships.

The company’s “new network roadmap” includes NuCypher, Near, Libra, Telegram, Edgeware, Skale, Polkadot, Solana, Mobilecoin, Coda, Enigma, Ava, Ethereum 2.0, Celo, Keep, Filecoin, Dfinity, Tupelo, and others.

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