This week “blockchain technology-based research and development organization” Nchain has been acquired by the High Tech Private Equity Fund SICAV plc. The company claims the transaction is the largest acquisition within the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry to date, but will not provide any evidence of this claim. Furthermore, the company owns patents from and has ties with Dr. Craig Wright, the Australian who has claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto.
Bitcoin Blockchain Development for Global Mass Adoption
The blockchain company Nchain and its affiliated companies have announced it was recently acquired by the High Tech Private Equity Fund SICAV plc. The firm is a EU regulated investment fund managed by Accuro Fund Solutions. Not much more is known about who the owners or investors involved are, and questions towards this subject has so far remained unanswered.
The Nchain organization claims to be a group of companies with a team of over 60 scientific researchers, engineers, and other professionals based in Europe and Canada.
According to the press release, the amount paid for the recent purchase of Nchain is undisclosed. However, sources familiar with the transaction say it was well over the capital injected into 21 Inc., making the claim that Nchain is the largest acquisition in the Bitcoin and blockchain development space yet. According to CNBC, a source familiar with the matter said that $300 million had been invested in Nchain, but it was not clear over what period of time. Neither was it clear in what form the investment was made; in dollars, bitcoin, equity? Requests to have Nchain deliver some sort of verification for these claims have gone unanswered.
UPDATED: Nchain responded to these questions simply with the line; “Old fashioned cash in fiat currency.”, still not mentioning the actual sum transacted.
The company says the venture will provide Nchain the ability to continue its research and development of distributed ledger technology and prepare blockchain development for global mass adoption.
“While learning about the suite of Nchain’s capabilities through the acquisition, it became clear to me that we are in a new era of the digital age following the creation of the personal computer and the internet,” the Director of Nchain Holdings Limited, Arthur Davis stated in the announcement press release. “This changes everything leading us into what we at Nchain call the ‘Internet of Transactions.’”
Stealth or Inexperienced?
A Google search for Nchain did not turn up much useful, and browsing the website Nchain.com (or the similar Nchain.co) provides little clue as to what experience Nchain has with blockchain development.
UPDATED: Arthur Davis sent news.Bitcoin.com this response on a question about what previous experience the firm has with blockchain development;
“Zero customer facing activities to date. This is and will change over the next year. To date the Company has only been capturing the past close to a decade of research and development of those assets acquired from Dr. Wright’s businesses in Australia, and developing those assets and creating new intellectual property and assets, some of which have been flowing into patents. The press release marks the start of a major pivot in the business in this regard.”
The site lists no team members, prior projects or clients. The whole web site consists of three pages, with only one news announcement. Still, the company press release claims it employs over 60. Questions on the matter sent to Nchain has so far gone unanswered.
UPDATED: Bitcoin.com received an email response to this question the day after publication. Company representative Arthur Davis had this to say;
“Regarding your question below the entire organization has kept a blanket is secrecy around its entire operation. Staff are not allowed to post on LinkedIn or to even have business cards historically. (This point you could reference). As part of coming out of stealth mode this policy of confidentiality will be considered and modified, however we have yet to determine exactly how.
One fact which is public to which you could refer is Allan Pedersen who worked with CSW at DeMorgan in Australia. You can see this on companieshouse.co.uk which references the corporate Directors of nChain Limited our U.K. Subsidiary. Also mentioned there publicly is an executive Anthony Rowland.”
Although undisclosed, we believe the acquisition value to be the largest worldwide to date in the development of this industry.
Nchain Has Claim Over Wright’s Bitcoin and Blockchain-based Patents
Another interesting part of the acquisition story is Nchain’s relationship with the Australian scientist Craig Wright, who has claimed in the past he is Satoshi Nakamoto. According to the company, Craig Wright is employed as “Chief Scientist” with Nchain.
Nchain, which was once called EITC Holdings, has claim over Wright’s Bitcoin and blockchain-based patents, an exclusive Reuters interview explains. However, Nchain details Wright does not have an ownership interest in the R&D company. Rather the patent holdings were purchased previously for, yet another, undisclosed sum.
“Dr. Wright is not, nor has he ever been, a director or shareholder in the Nchain companies,” explains an email response from Nchain. “Dr. Wright has never invested in Nchain and has never had any ownership interest in Nchain. — 100% of the ownership stake in the Nchain business was sold. The Nchain business includes both Nchain Limited, a UK entity, and Nchain Holdings Limited, an Antiguan entity. — The intellectual property created by Nchain Limited is owned by Nchain Holdings Limited.”
Nchain explains the company believes the legend of Satoshi Nakamoto “is and will always remain a myth.”
A Focus on On-Chain Scaling and Neutral Standards
The blockchain R&D organization says it plans to advance on-chain scaling “without degrading the benefits of decentralisation,” according to the press release. This includes developing a solution in “adherence to the original vision, removing the Bitcoin blockchain’s artificial block size limit (temporarily set at 1MB) to fuel increased scalability and usage,” Nchain states.
The Nchain team has also detailed it will be advocating for a formation of a group focused on neutral standards in regards to the Bitcoin network’s development and technical standards. The organization believes this type of group could help manage protocol development to “ensure the long-term advancement of the Bitcoin blockchain.”
With additional reporting by Nanok Bie.
What do you think about the Nchain organization? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and the Nchain website.
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