O(1) Labs, the team behind the Mina blockchain, has raised $10.9 million in a strategic investment round from partners based throughout Asia. Bixin Ventures and Three Arrows Capital co-lead the investment round.
The funding is aimed at advancing O(1) Labs’ goal of ushering in a new era of accessible blockchain technology, using what it describes as the world’s lightest blockchain.
“Mina protocol creates the best way to optimize scalability and decentralization for the Web 3.0 by using zero-knowledge proofs to condense the blockchain into a fixed size,” said WangXi, partner at Bixin Ventures, in a prepared statement.
In addition, founder of Three Arrows Capital Kyle Davies said, “Mina presents an elegant, light-weight, layer-one blockchain solution to the cryptographic trilemma of decentralization, scale, and security.” He added that “as daily blockchain users ourselves, we are particularly excited to support the Mina team and ecosystem.”
The near-$11 million investment follows a seed round in May 2018 that raised $3.5 million, as well as a further $15 million generated in April 2019. In addition to Bixin Ventures and Three Arrows Capital, the investment was also generated by participation from SNZ, HashKey Capital, Signum Capital, and IOSG Ventures, among others.
What is Mina?
Mina uses advanced cryptography to design a blockchain sized at approximately 22kb; by comparison, each block of the Bitcoin chain is one megabyte. Because larger block sizes require expensive hardware to mine, the argument goes, it prices out many potential miners, leading to centralization. Many have pointed to the example of China, where Bitcoin miners control nearly two thirds of the network’s hash rate.
“Mina addresses the failure of legacy blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum pricing users out of participation,” said Evan Shapiro, CEO and co-founder of O(1) Labs.
In contrast, “Mina leverages recursive zk-SNARKS to not only keep its blockchain at a manageable (22kb) size, but also to power Snapps, Snark-powered applications, which bring crucial privacy and off-chain interoperability benefits to crypto applications,” Shapiro added.
Formerly known as Coda Protocol, the project underwent a name change following a trademark dispute with R3 over its Corda blockchain.