Block.one announced on Monday that it has received funding from a collection of individuals and companies, notably including Peter Thiel and Bitmain. The press release does not divulge how much money was raised.
Block.one is a software company registered in the Cayman Islands. CEO Brendan Blumer created the company with programmer Dan Larimer in March 2017 and released its first project in May.
That project was EOS, a blockchain platform that supports smart contracts as Ethereum does. The initial coin offering of this venture was set up to last for more than a year, and altogether $4 billion was raised. After some difficulty, it recently went online and has a market capitalisation of $7.1 billion according to coinmarketcap.com.
EOS has been criticised for its overly-centralised system; transactions are processed by no more than 21 nodes, which are actually usually companies that have run election campaigns. These nodes are voted into position by the rest of the community, but some argue that this is no guarantee against manipulation.
Peter Thiel is a German-born American venture capitalist with a net worth of approximately $2.5 billion. He was one of the founders of PayPal, which was sold to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion, invested early in Facebook, and set up investment funds like Valar Ventures and Mithril Capital. Another fund of his bought millions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin in 2017.
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Bitmain is a Chinese company which manufactures Bitcoin mining machinery and mines almost half of the world’s Bitcoin itself, making it worryingly dominant. It has an estimated value of $12 billion. CEO Jihan Wu said: “The EOSIO protocol is a great example of blockchain innovation. Its performance and scalability can meet the needs of demanding consumer applications and will pave the way for mainstream blockchain adoption.”
Interestingly, Bitmain is one of the nodes in the EOS network.
According to the press release, other investors include billionaires Louis Bacon and Alan Howard.
Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer said: “As Block.one prepares to announce its future plans, we’re excited to welcome key strategic investors aligned with our values of creating a more secure and connected world.” He has not yet revealed what these plans are.