Diem Isn’t Dead — Crypto Project Aptos Revives It and Sees $200 Million in Funding

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Mar. 16 2022, Published 12:04 p.m. ET

When Meta Platforms Inc. (META) dropped its long-awaited crypto project Diem from the books, it looked like a loss. But for the former Meta employees who worked on the open-source blockchain project, there was no way they were letting their work die. Now, one company is ensuring Diem lives on.

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Mo Shaikh and Avery Ching founded Aptos and are continuing their work with a team of other ex-Meta (formerly Facebook) employees.

Facebook sold Diem, but the open-source blockchain lives on in Aptos.

In January, Meta announced it was selling Diem’s technology assets to Silvergate Capital for $182 million after years of stalled progress and failure to launch. However, Diem was designed as an open-source blockchain built by a group of people who have since left the company. In the time since their departure, many of the engineers have teamed up to launch Aptos.

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Shaikh, now Aptos CEO, said that since departing Meta the team has “been able to put our ideas into motion, ditch bureaucratic red tape, and build an entirely new network from the ground up that brings them to fruition.”

He also said, “Aptos will be built in part on the technology we developed in the open over the past three years.” This includes using Diem’s language software Move, which Aptos is adopting.

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Other ex-Meta employees have joined Aptos.

Shaikh and Ching aren’t the only ones to ditch Meta for the blockchain startup. The list also includes Alden Hu, Alin Tomescu, Dahlia Malkhi , David Wolinsky, Greg Nazario, Jake Skinner, Josh Lind, Max Kaplan, Mo Ahmed, Neil Harounian, Rati Gelashivili, Rustie Lin, Sasha Spiegelman, Sherry Xiao, Sital Kedia and Zekun Li, according to a blog post.

Aptos scored $200 million in funding round thanks to lead investors including a16z.

To spearhead the journey, Aptos has achieved $200 million in funding from major venture capital backers. The lead investors in the strategic investment round include a16z (Andreessen Horowitz), Tiger Global, Multicoin Capital, FTX Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, and more.

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Silvergate Capital was also on board for the funding round, which is interesting considering it owns Diem’s technology assets. Aptos has been clear that they won’t use Diem intellectual property that Silvergate owns, but it’s possible there will be a deal in this space moving forward.

As for how much Aptos is worth, the company hasn’t stated a specific dollar value, but it has claimed to exceed an enterprise valuation well beyond unicorn territory (or a startup worth $1 billion).

What is Aptos’ Layer 1 technology and will there be updates?

Aptos is a Layer 1 blockchain system, which means it will operate on its own network — not another major blockchain such as Ethereum. The “devnet” is open for developers to try it out ahead of the Aptos blockchain release to the public. Unlike Diem, Aptos is moving quickly — and the general public could gain access to the revived blockchain technology as early as the third quarter of this year.

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