Back in the 90’s, Austin Hill recruited Adam Back to join his company called Zero-Knowledge Systems. The company’s goal was to commercialize cypherpunk privacy-enhancing technologies such as anonymous encrypted networking and Mr. Brands’ pioneering protocol for e-cash. The latter is still the most flexible central-server protocol developed to this day. The company did have many successes, but the market just was not ready to accept Zero-Knowledge Systems’ e-cash work at that time.
As of December 2013, Mr. Back flew to Montreal and asked Mr. Hill to join him in a vision concerning the future of blockchain and digital assets. Mr. Hill gladly obliged, because he had always had a passion for disruptive innovation for social change. Mr. Hill and Mr. Back rekindled the importance and power of crypto-based infrastructures. Users would not have to depend on someone else’s goodwill any longer, which could be a turning point for those with access to mature financial systems and everyone who is not being served by transactional systems that are already known. All of this led to a grand vision for a brand new ecosystem.
Mr. Hill and Mr. Back discussed their vision with a number of people to think about a second wave of cryptocurrencies. On the back of those discussions, investors were invited to learn about Mr. Back’s and Mr. Hill’s technology. On his blog, Mr. Hill was very excited to announce that Blockstream closed a $21 seed round. In total, 40 well-known internet and financial services sector pioneers placed an investment. Some of the investors include Reid Hoffman, Khosla Ventures and Real Ventures, Nicolas Berggruen, Crypto Currency Partners, Future/Perfect ventures and many more. According to Mr. Hoffman, Blockstream will make it easier to add new capabilities to the Bitcoin platform and will inspire new technical and entrepreneurial innovations.
It was not hard for Blockstream to attract A-list investors at all because their technology and their group of founders is very promising. Blockstream’s 11 co-founders include:
Adam Back, inventor of the hashcash algorithm;
Greg Maxwell, Pieter Wuille and Matt Corallo, developers of parts of the Bitcoin protocol;
Mark Friedenbach and Jorge Timon, developers of the Freimarkets proposal, one of the best approaches to asset issuance;
Jonathan Wilkins, top-tier security and operations expert;
Alex Fowler, well-known public policy, privacy and business leader with strong ties to Open Internet groups and industry regulators;
Erik Svenson, who has led finance for numerous startups;
Francesca Hall, operations manager.
Blockstream is the first company that focuses on the technology behind Bitcoin. In the past, lots of money has been invested in Bitcoin startups creating Bitcoin applications and services. Blockstream actually extends the Bitcoin protocol’s capabilities to support massive Bitcoin scaling and blockchain technology to a wide variety of asset types. Sidechains, the company’s initial focus, provides us with an opportunity to let infinite developments take place in an open manner.
The Blockstream company was announced about three weeks ago together with the sidechains whitepaper release, which was downloaded about 10,000 times within the first few days. The paper sparked a lot of people’s interest and resulted in interesting discussions on Reddit. The discussions prove that more and more people believe in the possibilities that Sidechains might offer.
Blockstream seeks to develop mindblowing software and services that will allow others to build their businesses and to realize greater success with Bitcoin and blockchain technology. Mr Hill is very excited to be part of the innovations taking place in cryptocurrencies, open assets and smart contracts and believes the company’s technology will have a significant impact.