Zero-knowledge proof startup RISC Zero has raised $40 million in a Series A funding round led by Blockchain Capital, according to press materials shared with Decrypt.

Other notable participants in the round include Bain Capital Crypto, Galaxy Digital, IOSG, RockawayX, Maven 11, Fenbushi Capital, Delphi Digital, Algaé Ventures, IOBC, Tribute Labs’ Zero Dao, and Alchemy.

Seattle-based RISC Zero is working on a next generation scalable blockchain utilizing zero-knowledge proof technology developed by StarkWare alongside their own RISC-V zkVM (zero-knowledge Virtual Machine).

The latter is somewhat different from the popular zkEVM architecture, which uses zero-knowledge rollups to verify the transaction data, being chain-agnostic without a notion of wallet addresses or other blockchain constructs built in.

By integrating these technologies, RISC Zero seeks to empower developers accustomed to programming in Rust, Go, C++, and other standard languages to create decentralized applications (dapps), paving the way for a more accessible and inclusive adoption of Web3 technology among developers worldwide.

The Bonsai computing platform

The company’s focus is on its Bonsai computing platform, which is described as “a collection of tools enabling boundless computation on any blockchain.” The fresh funding is expected to enable RISC Zero to bring it to market, “supporting rapid application development and deployment in both cloud and decentralized environments.”

“With Bonsai, developers can focus on writing their application instead of worrying about the complexities of proof orchestration and server infrastructure,” RISC Zero CEO Brian Retford said in a statement.

The Bonsai computing platform, which, as the company says, “will bring massively parallel ZK-proving functionality to any developer, in any language, on any chain,” is still in early development.


So far it has concentrated on a few use cases though, such as the core Bonsai proving service and an ETH Relay for accessing Bonsai from the Ethereum blockchain.

Still, after raising $12 million in a Bain Capital-led seed round in August last year, and now equipped with new funding, RISC Zero is now making an important step in its mission “to fix the internet.”

“Imagine a world where data privacy, security, and trust are no longer concerns, where software supply chains are transparent and verifiable, and where a new generation of applications can harness the power of zero-knowledge computing to solve some of the most pressing challenges of the digital age. This is the promise of zero-knowledge computing and the reason we are investing in RISC Zero,” Bart Stephens, Founder and Managing Partner at Blockchain Capital in a statement shared with Decrypt.

Previously, the company also raised $2 million in pre-seed round led by Geometry Research and Ramez Naam Ventures.

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