Below is our recent interview with Ali DiGiovanni from Aleo:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?
A: Aleo is the ﬁrst developer platform for building fully private, scalable, and cost-effective applications. It’s powered by a cutting-edge technology called zero-knowledge cryptography to enable developers to build decentralized applications that offer users personalized Web3 services without sacriﬁcing control of their personal data. Unlike other blockchains such as Ethereum, Aleo transactions are processed off-chain, and only veriﬁed (rather than executed and re-executed) by the network nodes. This allows the platform to support a higher volume of transactions and empowers developers to create decentralized applications capable of addressing complex real-world use cases that currently require centralized servers, all while complying with applicable laws. Aleo represents an infrastructural landscape on which the future of dapps is limited only by developers’ imaginations.
Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?
A: This round was equity only, as the purpose of it has been to raise funding for the company to be built on top of the Aleo network. This capital will be used to build a company which provides value-added services on top of the Aleo network. A good analogy we have made is Git vs Github.
Git is an open-source protocol used by millions of developers worldwide, and Github has built a lucrative and viable business by layering on a suite of products which add even more utility for the end-user (aka developer).
Q: Can you give us more insights into your offering?
A: We raised $200M in a Series B funding round led by Kora Management LP and SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with participation from Tiger Global, Sea Capital, Slow Ventures, Samsung Next, and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), culminating in a valuation of the company at $1.45 billion. Following the company’s $28 million Series A, which was led by a16z in April of 2021. Aleo’s Series B represents the largest fundraising round ever in the zero-knowledge industry, and a major conﬁrmation of conﬁdence in the future of zero-knowledge technology.
Q: What can we expect from your company in the next 6 months? What are your plans?
A: We are in the ﬁnal week of running our incentivized testnet, and are in the process of completing two separate security audits of our core codebase. In addition, we’ve concluded Phase I of the largest setup ceremony for any zk-project in history. While we still have a few things to wrap up on the technical side, with the aforementioned achievements we feel prepared for our planned mainnet launch in Q3 2022 (this year). The launch of mainnet later this year will enable developers to build privacy-enabled, decentralized applications for both Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 more easily than ever before.
Q: What is the best thing about your company that people might not know about?
A: We’ve designed our own Layer-1 blockchain from the ground up speciﬁcally to support a decentralized computing paradigm known as Zexe which makes off-chain computation, on-chain veriﬁcation the default, thus greatly improving scalability AND privacy. Furthermore, we’ve created an entirely new programming language, Leo, which lets developers write programs in an intuitive, developer-friendly way.
Zero-knowledge cryptography is a relatively new concept that has only recently been applied to the problems of scalability and privacy. Given the nascent state of the industry, we don’t feel a sense of “rivalry” towards other projects applying these techniques to solve ecosystem-speciﬁc problems. That said, most other teams use zero-knowledge cryptography as a solution to scalability on Ethereum.
Because we’re taking a full-stack approach, we’re better able to optimize an end-to-end developer experience for writing private applications, which we hope will lead to the best and brightest developers building novel new applications that bridge the gap between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0.