ounded in 2021, Paris-based Zama has quickly become a leader in cryptography techniques for privacy preservation. Still early in its work, the startup has already caught the attention of major investors due to its focus on an important challenge - protecting data as new technologies are adopted at massive scale. Zama announced it had raised $73 million USD in a Series A round led by Multicoin Capital and Protocol Labs.

Image Rand Hindi, CEO of Zama wearing a black tshirt
Rand Hindi, CEO of Zama

How Zama's Technology Works

Central to Zama's mission is a technology called homomorphic encryption. This innovative approach allows computation to be performed on encrypted data without having to decrypt it first. Some key problems with blockchain and AI involve the need to share or analyze sensitive data while maintaining privacy. Zama's encryption scheme aims to solve this by permitting calculations on encrypted datasets. The results can be decrypted to reveal insights without exposing the original raw information. 

While still an early-stage area of research, homomorphic encryption holds immense promise. It could allow healthcare providers to jointly study patient records for new discoveries, without directly accessing anyone's private medical histories. Blockchain networks building decentralized finance applications may one day leverage this to provide transaction privacy. Zama's team of cryptography experts are actively working to refine the technique and find new applications.

Backing from Major Investors

Clearly excited about Zama's work, the funding round included support from leaders in both the blockchain and venture capital ecosystems. Multicoin Capital and Protocol Labs led the Series A, joining prior investors including Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko. Multicoin General Partner Tucker Waterman praised Zama's homomorphic encryption research and said the firm was impressed with founders' experience in cutting-edge cryptography. Meanwhile, Juan Benet of Protocol Labs saw potential synergies between Zama's privacy work and Filecoin data storage network. This mix of blockchain builders and venture backers signifies confidence that privacy will become increasingly vital as distributed technologies are more widely built and used.

The new capital influx will enable Zama to significantly expand its team of engineers and mathematicians. Additional research dollars will also accelerate progress on its encryption scheme. With privacy concerns only intensifying, Zama is well-positioned to develop solutions that unlock new potential for blockchain and AI, while giving individuals and organizations stronger control over sensitive information. This round of funding positions the Paris startup at the forefront of an issue that will be crucial for technology's continued responsible development.

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