Seattle startup raises $14M to fuel ambitious plan for a social network built on the blockchain – GeekWire


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Peer leaders, from left: COO Heath Abbate CEO and founder Tony K. Tran Main Layout Officer Kyle Hay Chief Science Officer Thomas Nguyen. (Peer Photograph)

Metaverse. Web3. Cryptocurrency. Blockchain. NFTs.

Peer’s bought it all.

The new Seattle-based mostly startup driving all the hottest tech tendencies not long ago raised $14 million to pursue an ambitious approach for a blockchain-based social community.

Established about a 12 months in the past, Peer provides related functions as Facebook, in which folks can interact with consumer-produced-written content, but is solely crafted on the blockchain. This usually means its information creators will be ready to own and monetize their posts as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. The firm suggests it is in beta testing and has around 20,000 customers.

The startup strategies to make income by way of a subscription on the application. It also presents its own cryptocurrency, Peer Metaverse Coin, which will allow customers to trade NFTs on the platform and reward written content creators. The coin is now worthy of a person U.S. dollar, and its whole supply will be capped at 2.1 billion.

Peer will begin by launching its social network, move into constructing hardware, and inevitably acquire artificial intelligence, according to its “masterplan.”

There are a variety of large tech companies investing greatly in the so-referred to as metaverse, which describes an immersive and interactive digital planet. Meta, for example, altered its identify from Fb in component to sign its big guess in the space. Microsoft has also introduced its individual metaverse perform, Mesh for Groups, which enables end users to navigate virtual perform environments as an avatar.

But crypto-linked startups, which rely on blockchain tech, have proven to be a risky bet for traders amid the much larger economic downturn. Luna, for instance, shed $40 billion in a sudden meltdown in May well. Troubled crypto lender BlockFi is reportedly being offered for nicely below its previous non-public valuation. Novi, Meta’s electronic wallet pilot challenge, will shut down in September. And crypto broker Voyager Digital submitted for personal bankruptcy

Requested about the the latest detrimental sentiment all around crypto-relevant organizations, Peer CEO Tony Tran argued that there has nonetheless to be a “use case” like Peer, exactly where blockchain has utility.

“This blockchain technological know-how, if we can increase a consumer encounter on major of it, and we enable persons use it, then you are going to be able to make all types of new media,” he mentioned. He additional that applying blockchain on a social network will help customers to imbue their digital material with “scarcity” and “immutability,” this means it will be unalterable.

Tran, who grew up in Vietnam, previously worked as an engineer at Microsoft, where he targeted on building person expertise and design characteristics. He was also a creative director and UX designer at Nurego, a startup that was obtained by Basic Electrical Electronic. Prior to beginning Peer, he started two other corporations, with both equally shuttering.

His to start with startup, Alfa, was a blockchain task based off the motion picture In Time. It elevated far more than $4 million, in accordance to PitchBook, but eventually shut down simply because it ran out of money. His 2nd startup, Third & Loom, was a platform for women apparel. He started the corporation with his spouse, but they sooner or later liquidated its property to foreign organizations and closed the enterprise.

By Peer, Tran is joined by COO Heath Abbate, Chief Structure Officer Kyle Hay, and Main Science Officer Thomas Nguyen. The startup has extra than 60 staff.

People of the Peer app will be capable to scroll vertically to see posts in diverse spots and horizontally to see posts show up in chronological order. (Peer Graphic)

There are a wide range of startups setting up a social network working with blockchain technology. Bitclout, for case in point, permits customers to bet on the reputation of selected famous people and influencers by buying or providing shares connected to their profile. 

Peer customers will be ready to raise dollars for their individual crypto initiatives applying the system. They will be equipped to promote shares of their business by way of an original coin trade, or ICX, on Peer. This is comparable to a so-called preliminary coin providing, the place a startup sells stock in their company via digital tokens as a way to increase capital.

The startup states that its ICX perform will be safer for investors than an ICO, which has garnered a reputation for getting a resource for scammers. It says it has worked with regulators to make certain the safety and security of the approach, incorporating that only “established companies” can qualify to do an ICX on the Peer network. 

It has been challenging for some entrepreneurs in the blockchain house to elevate funds. Corporate crypto investors make up 65% of deal quantity in private crypto corporations, The Information and facts described, and the enterprise arms of Coinbase and OpenSea have “tapped the brakes” on investing in this kind of startups.  

In an effort and hard work to raise money, Peer has been offering its very own tokens and fairness to investors. Nevertheless, it has nevertheless to identify any of all those backers.

Tran reported that undertaking capitalists have not been eager to make investments in startups like his, which he described as “experimental.”

“As capital becomes additional and additional entrenched, [VCs] are betting significantly less and much less on the insane,” he reported. “And I assume the outrageous is what is the future of the entire world.”

Peer options to release an alpha variation of its application in August.

By diana

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