Crypto funding: A $50M week for encryption cryptography, NFT memberships

Blackbird Labs, an NFT membership platform for diners and restaurants, secured an impressive $24 million from investors this week

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Olha Yefimova/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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A handful of early stage crypto startups received over $50 million from investors this week.

The biggest winner to announce their round was Blackbird Labs, an NFT membership application that connects its users to restaurants. It secured an impressive $24 million.

The funding round was led by a16z, with participation from Amex Ventures and Bolt by QED, among others.

Blackbird itself is built on top of Coinbase’s layer-2 network, Base, and gives restaurants insights into their customers’ dining preferences. For diners, the app rewards them with FLY tokens which can be used for rewards at participating restaurants. 

This new funding will give Blackbird the opportunity to bring more offerings into the market, the company noted in a press release.

On the infrastructure and privacy side, Fairblock, a research and development team focused on advanced cryptography, has secured $2.5 million in a pre-seed funding round led by Galileo. Lemniscap, Dialectic, Robot Ventures, GSR, Chorus One, Dorahacks, and Reverie also participated in the round. 

This funding will be used by Fairblock to advance its development of conditional cryptographic encryption and enable pre-execution privacy. 

In an earlier interview with Blockworks, Fairblock co-founder Peyman Momeni said that the company wanted to lower the risks for average crypto users to enter the space.

“We want to build something that gives the freedom to users to optionally keep their transactions and protect the contents of the transactions. Transactions can be decrypted under certain conditions, such as a deadline or specific prices,” Momeni said.

Perpetual exchanges are also gaining some attention from investors. Notably, Ostium Labs has secured $3.5 million in a funding round led by General Catalyst and LocalGlobe.

This latest funding will be used by the company to help build a decentralized perpetuals exchange for real world assets (RWAs).

“The market lacks a dedicated platform for trading real world assets in a format already familiar to DeFi power users — catering to the increasing demand for on-chain exposure to diversifying bets on macro beyond crypto,” the company wrote on X

A public testnet of the DEX will be available on Arbitrum this quarter, and the company anticipates that it will launch mainnet early next year, depending on audits. 

Other notable fundraises

  • Non-custodial crypto lender Cicada secures a $9.7 million in a pre-seed round led by  Choppa Capital.
  • Web3 onboarding platform lands $7 million from Polygon Ventures, Nomad Capital, Symbolic Capital and others.
  • Convergence RFQ, a trading platform on the Solana blockchain, secured $2.5 million in pre-seed funding led by C² Ventures.

Updated Oct. 10, 2023 at 1:05 pm ET: A previous version of this article stated that OKX Ventures lead a seed round for DeFi lending platform ParaFinance. OKX and OKX Ventures confirmed they did not participate in the round.


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