Why Did We Invest in Cysic? — A&T Capital
01 Financing Information
Zero-knowledge (ZK) hardware startup Cysic completed a $6 million seed round led by Polychain Capital and followed by A&T Capital, Hashkey, SNZ Holding, ABCDE, and Web3.com Ventures. The funds raised will be used to expand the team and continue to focus on developing hardware solutions.
Cysic aims to provide a hardware acceleration solution for the ZKP protocol. It already has 12 ecosystem partners, including Scroll, Nil Foundation, and Hyper Oracle.
02 Why did we invest in Cysic?
1. ZKP technology gradually plays an important role in the blockchain industry, and the potential hardware market is huge.
ZKP technology becomes the mainstream:
Since the Starkware / Scroll in Ethereum ZKL 2, ZKP has gradually expanded to cross-chain, data index, and other directions, and has penetrated into all fields of the blockchain industry.
The hardware market is huge:
According to the total market value of $10–20B of the current main ZK L1/L2, usually, 10% of the value will go to the computing power market in the future. The current ZK L1/L2 market can support the ZKP hardware acceleration market of $1–2B, and there must be a significantly larger market in the next bull market.
2. Excellent team and strong partners
Excellent team strength: The hardware team led by Bowen has made excellent achievements in this industry in the past, and has a good reputation in ZKP; Professor Xiong Fan’s research in the software field is also fruitful; The overall progress of the team is at the forefront of the industry.
Strong partners: Scroll, Manta, Taiko and Mina are all the mainstream projects of ZK L1/L2 track. In addition, Polychain, the leading investor, has a top place in the industry with rich resources.
II、Industry Trends and Status
ZKP-related tracks are significantly active
The top Ethereum ZK L2, Starkware, Scroll, and ZKSync, have a market value of more than $10B, and the progress of all the projects is ideal, which is expected to launch on the mainnet in 2023.
New ZKP-related applications, represented by Succinct Labs, Herodotus, and Risc 0, have gradually obtained great financial support and developed user scenarios, making the ZKP-related track more active.
1. ZKP acceleration chip is the core of ZKP track
See the three-layer structure below:
①Application scenarios: ZKP cross-chain bridge, ZKL 2 capacity expansion, ZK Privacy L1
②Theoretical basis: Groth 16, Plonk, Marlin, and other ZK algorithms
③The ZKP acceleration chip developed by Cysic
2.Design of FPGA + ASIC
FPGA mainly plays the role of connecting different ZKP algorithms and circuit design to provide strong enough adaptability for the whole scheme; ASIC mainly plays the core role of acceleration, namely multi-scale multiplication (MSM) and number theory transformation (NTT) algorithm, which determines the time required to generate ZKP.
Xiong Fan, Co-founder
Xiong Fan is an associate professor at Rutgers University since 2022. He spent fifteen months as a crypto researcher at Algorand from 2021 to 2022. He was a research assistant at Cornell University from 2015 to 2019.
Bowen Huang, Co-founder
He participated in the development of two core chips at Alibaba; previously worked as a research engineer at the Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences for 5 years; studied CS at Yale University 2019–2022.
About A&T Capital:
A&T Capital is an early-to-growth stage venture fund for emerging disruptive technologies. Led by three founding partners based out of Berlin, Singapore and Shanghai, we are supported by a global dynamic team of researchers and analysts. Our varied backgrounds in high tech, TradFi and venture capital help us understand what is essential for a startup to succeed. In 2021, we raised 100M pool of funds. Our portfolios include Amber Group, Cobo, Gnosis Safe, Nestcoin, Infstones, Consensys, and Commonwealth.
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