The next red hat? Raleigh Blockchain Startup Kaleido Aims to Lead the Open Source Revolution for Web3
Editor’s note: Startup Spotlight is a regular feature of WRAL TechWire, diving into companies that hope to help shape the ever-growing digital future, from code to pharmaceuticals.
RALEIGH – A young, emerging Raleigh-born tech startup hopes to lead the open source revolution for what some technologists are calling the “next big thing”: Web3.
This week, blockchain startup Kaleido officially dropped what it says is the “first open-source SuperNode,” a plug-in blockchain framework allowing businesses – large and small – to launch and scale their own projects. secure blockchains.
Called Hyperledger FireFly, it includes “more than 200,000 lines of enterprise-ready code,” the company says. This allows enterprises to operate Web3 applications such as digital assets, non-fungible tokens and smart contracts “without having to start from scratch”. Plus, it’s free and fast. The software stack could speed up the development process “10 to 100 times,” the company said.
“The FireFly SuperNode will be a game-changer for them,” says co-founder and CEO Steve Cerveny.
For those not in the know, Web3 is the latest buzzword from Silicon Valley looking to usher in a new iteration of the web. In its most basic form, it refers to a blockchain-based decentralized internet – the shared ledger systems used by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether.
Web3 fans think it’s the future of the internet. In 2021, investments in Web3 startups skyrocketed to $23.7 billion, Pitchbook reported. Meanwhile, the emerging Web3 industry was estimated to be worth nearly $3 trillion at the end of 2021, according to analysis by Electric Capital.
But it also has its detractors. Some call it just another “fad”. As the Capital report noted: “We’re still in the early innings of Web3.”
On the ground, however, the founders of Kaleido say they are seeing an increase in demand from companies looking to adopt these disruptive technologies.
“Web3 is exploding with technological innovation, rapid user growth and value creation. Companies are scrambling to keep up,” Sophia Lopez, co-founder and COO of Kaleido, told WRAL TechWire.
Hyperledger Firefly will help these companies “leapfrog” to Web3, she said.
The next red hat?
Overall, the founders of Kaleido, a team made up mostly of former IBMers, say the decision to share their technology — for free — also positions them at the forefront of the next open source movement.
“Just as Red Hat led the open source revolution in the Web 2.0 world right here in the Triangle, Kaleido leads the new open source payload for Web3,” Lopez said.
She is, of course, referring to one of the region’s most acclaimed startup success stories, Red Hat, founded in 1993 by Bob Young and Marc Ewing. Instead of protecting trade secrets and patenting their products, the pair decided to share their evolving operating system, Linux, with the wider tech community. It paid off. In 2019, IBM bought the company for $34 billion, the biggest deal ever for the tech giant and one of the largest technology acquisitions in history.
“Kaleido has taken up the torch of open source,” Lopez said, adding that she predicts that SuperNode FireFly will become the primary operating system for Web3, much like Linux was for Web 2.0.
While it’s still too early to tell if this will materialize, many blockchain experts see Kaleido’s latest move as a step in the right direction.
“This approach removes the obstacles that stood in the way of many companies wishing to bring their blockchain technology-based businesses to life,” said Paweł Laskarzewski, CEO and co-founder of Synapse Network. “[It could] significantly influence the popularization of blockchain technology.
Kaleido happens to be located a few blocks from Red Hat. Its team of approximately 28 employees is based at Raleigh Founded’s Capital Club on West Martin Street. Since launching its cross-cloud platform in 2018, it has been deployed across a range of industries generating over a billion blocks mined on the Ethereum blockchain – and counting.
The Hyperledger Foundation – launched by 21 founding members, including IBM and Red Hat – originally launched the FireFly project in early 2021 when Kaleido opened up its multi-chain blockchain abstraction and orchestration code. Today, “a diverse community of Web3 developers and businesses use and contribute to FireFly,” the company said.
Blockchain consortia such as RiskStream Collaborative in insurance, Synaptic Health Alliance in healthcare, and TradeGo in commodity trade finance are already in production today using FireFly, he said. stated in its press release.
Last October, WRAL TechWire featured Kaleido as part of its “Tomorrow’s Unicorn” series, which spotlighted local startups with the potential to hit the $1 billion mark in the coming years.
At the time, Kaleido said it was growing at an astonishingly rapid rate — “around ‘3-5X, depending on market segment’ — although they were tight-lipped about exact numbers. It also forged partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure.
Six months later, it remains the highest-rated product for its blockchain as a service and platform on G2, beating tech giants Amazon, Ethereum, and Salesforce. He also won a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for blockchain interoperability research.
Lopez said Kaleido continues to “increase its market impact” and maintain positive cash flow. She also hinted that a Series A fundraiser could be imminent.
“[We] will likely increase in the second half of this year to fund additional global sales and marketing growth as well as continued new product innovation,” she said.
For Web3 fans and haters, watch this space.
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