ThunderCore has raised $50 million to build a more nimble, cheaper, and faster blockchain platform. It aims to lay the foundation for a better Bitcoin, the pioneering blockchain-based cryptocurrency.
The money comes from U.S. and Asian investors, including Pantera, Huobi Capital, MetaStable, ZhenFund, Electric Capital, Arrington XRP Capital, FBG, Hashed, Kinetic, and SV Angel. The startup is another example of a gaming veteran — Chris Wang, formerly of Playdom — moving into blockchain.
Wang, CEO of ThunderCore, said in an interview with VentureBeat that the investors have deep connections and substantial experience in the blockchain arena. He said the company is building a decentralized ledger technology that will be a foundation for developer apps and will be able to process 1,200 transactions per second.
“We see it as a cheaper and faster version of Bitcoin with smart contracts,” Wang said. “We have high performance, fully decentralized trust, more scale, and higher throughput. We can be 100 times faster than Ethereum and Bitcoin.”
In doing so, the Sunnyvale, California-based company is echoing the pitch of many rivals of Bitcoin and Ethereum, such as IOST, which announced its mainnet network yesterday. But Wang said the leadership team has credibility, and the level of investor support helps distinguish the company from the pack.
Wang previously helped create Playdom, a social gaming company acquired by Disney for $532 million. He also has a doctorate in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University. His cofounder and chief scientist is Elaine Shi, who wrote the first academic research paper on both Bitcoin and decentralized smart contracts. Shi is also an associate professor of computer science at Cornell University.
Wang said ThunderCore’s protocol offers users and developers a simple solution to improving blockchain as a whole. The platform has a hybrid consensus mechanism with an optimized fast path, enabling developers to easily and conveniently build on the platform while maintaining compatibility with Ethereum applications.
He said the platform is build with the developer community in mind. It collects feedback, data, and insights on how developers use the platform and how to better support them in building decentralized apps (DApps). Wang said Ethereum apps can be ported to his platform in five minutes.
“ThunderCore is well-positioned for long-term prosperity due to its sustained focus on scalability and its profound, mutually beneficial relationship with developers,” said Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch and partner at Arrington XRP Capital Fund, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be on board as the ThunderCore vision and solution leads the industry into the future.”
Wang said Shi’s deep background in math has helped the company build a simple protocol backed by rigorous mathematical proofs that combine high performance with decentralized trust. Consensus nodes complete a single round of voting to confirm transactions in under a second, and the accelerator — a robust and secure distributed system — coordinates the network of consensus nodes.
Interested parties can access ThunderCore’s Testnet now, while the company prepares for the launch of its Mainnet later this quarter. The company started work about 18 months ago.
“I saw a lot of hype. Ninety percent of the crypto platforms didn’t deliver,” Wang said. “You have to come in with a scalable, high-performance platform. It won’t be useful if it is slow.”
ThunderCore has 60 employees and is hiring. Wang said the company is being conservative and won’t do an initial coin offering (ICO).