Decentralized App Platform Company Aleo Raises $28 Million

By Noah Long ● May 1, 2021
  • Aleo recently announced that it raised $28 million in funding to build the next-generation platform for decentralized and private applications. These are the details.

Aleo recently announced that it raised $28 million in funding to build the next-generation platform for decentralized and private applications. This round of funding was led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) with participation from Placeholder VC, Galaxy Digital, Variant Fund, and Coinbase Ventures. Other notable investors include Polychain Capital, Slow Ventures, Dekrypt Capital, Scalar Capital, a_capital, zkValidator, Balaji Srinivasan, and Ethereal Ventures, a new venture fund established by Joseph Lubin.

Aleo is considered the first platform for fully private applications. And Aleo uses blockchain and zero-knowledge cryptography to deliver a new web experience as it should be: one that is both personal and private. Through Aleo, developers can write private applications even if they are not experts in blockchain or cryptography.

At the company’s core, Aleo uses zero-knowledge proof (ZKPs), a cryptographic technique that proves a statement or fact without revealing what makes it true. Originally conceived of in the 1980s, ZK cryptography has become practical over the last decade and is now being adopted by blockchain developers to achieve scalability, privacy, and interoperability for executing transactions off-chain in a manner that can be verified. While use cases for ZK have been growing exponentially in popularity, until now they have mostly been applied to solving niche problems in blockchain. And Aleo seeks to unlock the full potential of ZK as a breakthrough technology for the web.

Aleo offers a full-stack solution for zero-knowledge, making ZK programmable at every level of the application stack for real-world use to enable decentralized private computing at scale. And Aleo’s platform provides end-to-end tools that enable the development, deployment, and sustainability of privacy-preserving applications. Through Aleo, applications and user interactions are private-by-default. And with this as the foundation, developers can reimagine web applications that are both fully private and totally personal. User privacy is a fundamental part of any Aleo application, eliminating concerns of trust and empowering users. Aleo’s unique architecture makes it more scalable than a traditional blockchain.

Aleo was originally conceptualized in 2016 as research into programmable zero-knowledge. And the company was officially established in 2019 by Howard Wu, Michael Beller, Collin Chin, and Raymond Chu. The team is composed of world-class cryptographers, engineers, designers, and operators that come from companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, and research universities such as UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins, NYU, and Cornell. Aleo’s breakthrough approach for privacy technology has garnered widespread support from academic researchers, blockchain developers, web developers, and open-source communities.

This funding is accompanied by the launch of Aleo’s Developer Preview II, a suite of new tools for developers to build on Aleo ahead of the public network launch. In addition, Aleo has been inviting the community to participate in its universal setup ceremony for the Aleo network this spring. Aleo is now focused on building tools that enable developers to create new use cases for private applications, such as in gaming and consumer finance.

KEY QUOTES:

“Aleo will reshape the role decentralized systems play in our society and introduce new paradigms for how we live our digital lives. Privacy will no longer be merely a feature but will become a core function. In order to build that future, Aleo is harnessing two cutting edge technologies— blockchains and zero-knowledge proofs— and leveraging the innovations of each to deliver a full-stack solution that allows anyone to build a web application that is private-by-default. We are thrilled to have the support of visionary investors who recognize the role privacy will play for this next decade.” 

— Aleo co-founder Howard Wu

“We are thrilled to support the stellar team behind Aleo as they bring private programmable applications to the wider market. Privacy-preserving applications allow users to navigate digital interactions without bias, which, coupled with blockchain technology, will create new opportunities for value creation. Aleo’s tech has solved critical issues in scaling applications built with zero-knowledge technology, enabling any developer or organization to build and scale a truly private application.”

— Katie Haun, General Partner at a16z