Big Whale Labs raises 3.8M seed round to build the future of pseudonymity
We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve closed a ~3.8M USD seed round (4.4M total raised) co-led by M13 and Road with participation from Slow Ventures, C2, Goodwater, Panache, NFR, Balaji Srinivasan (ex CTO Coinbase), Roman (founder of Tornado Cash) and more.
SealCred is an open-source privacy-preserving social protocol powered by zero-knowledge proofs. We allow users to easily create pseudonymous identities/wallets and transfer social capital from wallet A to wallet B using anonymous but verified, soulbound zkNFTs or zkBadges.
Here’s a paper by Vitalik, Weyl, and Ohlaver on the topic.
Open blockchains such as Ethereum are public ledgers. This means they can be used as a trustless and transparent system for various use cases. However, there are tons of privacy tradeoffs associated with open blockchains.
When a transaction is made on an open blockchain, the details of that transaction are publicly available for anyone to see. This means that if someone knows your wallet address, they can see all of the transactions you have ever made, including NFTs, DAO membership, or other personally identifiable info.
And with how token gating works today, to authenticate users for a simple token gated app, users are giving away the kitchen sink in terms of data to gain access.
Zero-knowledge proofs are essential in fixing this because they allow for proving
statements without revealing any information about the underlying data.
For example, if I own 5 TubbyCat NFTs but do not want to disclose which TubbyCat NFTs I own or what address I hold them in, I can create a pseudonymous wallet and use SealCred’s ZKSnark flow to create a zk NFT attesting that I own a Milady without revealing who I am or which TubbyCat I own.
This is super powerful because I can then interact with my social/pseudonymous wallet and can keep my TubbyCat in cold storage until they hit 100 eth floor in 5 years (not financial advice).
We’re starting off with the NFT ownership as a use case but are quickly looking to expand to other web3 and web2 use cases such as:
- NFT ownership attestation [currently in TestNet]
- Twitter verification/follower count
- Work email
- School affiliation
- Anonymous peer reviews of DAO members
- Anonymous review of DAOs
Our vision for SealCred is to use ZK and build the hub for the atomic unit of reputation and identity in crypto via NFTs. While DiD and Verifiable Credential standards are also interesting, we believe that anonymous but verified zk NFTs are the best early market for new privacy-preserving identity mechanisms that are composable by default.
Later this summer or early fall, we’ll be releasing Dosu - a pseudonymous social app powered by zk NFT badges you create with SealCred. Think of this as sort of like TeamBlind meets Reddit meets Crypto.
I’d also like a special shoutout to Paul, Matt, Sarmat, Daniil, Tuan, Norman, Ruslan, Michel, Avrdude, for working rigorously to help build.
Also, shout out to Wei Jie Koh, Roman Storm (Tornado Cash), Anton Bukov (1inch), for zk help along the way.
Jason & Nikita