Curv raises $6.5 million for keyless cryptography

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Curv, a startup using cryptography to secure the digital economy, has raised $6.5 million in a round of funding led by Team8 and Digital Currency Group. Curv also unveiled its institutional digital asset wallet service to give financial institutions and enterprises strong security, instant availability, and autonomy over all their digital assets.

Many financial institutions have been hesitant to fully embrace digital assets within their portfolios because of the lag, operational complexity, and single point of failure associated with the private keys needed to sign blockchain transactions. Curv eradicates the concept of private keys to eliminate these issues, introducing revolutionary cryptography that delivers a simple, distributed way to secure and sign transactions, the company said.

“Curv is solving the eternal trade-off between security and availability,” said Team8 CEO Nadav Zafrir in a statement. “No longer do institutions or enterprises need to maintain physical security that doesn’t scale or hot wallets that are difficult to integrate and secure. Curv gives them a single solution that does it all.”

Curv’s institutional digital asset wallet service

Curv wants to eliminate the concept of private keys by using proprietary multi-party computation (MPC) protocols, so each and every transaction is signed in a fast, secure, distributed way to protect against cyber breaches, physical damage, and insider collusion.

The goal is to replace the need for both physical and digital wallets with a scalable, software-only, cloud-based service that ensures digital assets are always available and secure.

It will also offer a flexible, enterprise-grade policy engine that allows institutions to define risk profiles and enforce granular controls for all employees, machines, and wallets, assuring compliance with organizational policies across all digital assets.

The service includes setup, management, and maintenance of the blockchain infrastructure. This allows customers to adopt any cryptocurrency or blockchain app they want, without having to worry about investing in or scaling the underlying information technology infrastructure.

“Curv makes it easier for institutions to manage digital assets by ensuring that each and every transaction is secure,” said Ronen Assia, chief product officer of eToro and advisor to Curv, in a statement. “eToro believes that in the future all assets will be tokenized and that we will see the greatest transfer of wealth ever onto the blockchain. As we grow our digital asset offering, we are looking to work with innovators such as Curv in order to provide the best possible service to our customers.”

In addition to Team8 and Digital Currency Group, contributors to the round included Flybridge Capital, Jump Capital, Monex Group, and Liberty City Ventures.

“Curv is building best-in-breed technology solutions for digital asset custody. The company’s institutional-grade wallet, which uses the most advanced cryptographic methods, provides the security and control that institutional investors entering this emerging asset class will expect,” said Travis Scher, vice president for investments at Digital Currency Group, in a statement. “We have been extremely impressed with the Curv team and are excited to support this dynamic company.”

Curv is led by CEO Itay Malinger and CTO Dan Yadlin, as well as cryptography forerunners Jonathan Katz and Ben Riva. The Institutional Digital Asset Wallet Service is a subscription service that will be available starting March 25. It is currently being used in a private beta with exchanges, custodians, fintech companies, and institutional investors around the globe.

“We are focused on unleashing the potential of blockchains with our revolutionary approach to digital asset security,” said Malinger, in a statement. “We give customers a way to securely integrate and manage all their digital assets, so they can easily transact and thrive in the digital world.”

Curv provides an application that is installed on all devices accessible to employees and handles the part of the cryptographic material that each user has. To ensure security, every employee has a different share of the private key.

The company’s cloud also holds shares so that the private key is not located on any device at any time. When an organization onboards to the Curv platform and generates a wallet, a public key is jointly generated — which is the wallet address (analogous to the bank account) to which the owner can receive funds from other participants on the blockchain.

Whenever the organization wants to send funds, one of its employees sends a request to Curv that is then validated to ensure it is authentic and within company policy. At the end of the process, a multi-party-computation protocol is executed to sign the transaction. During this process, no party reveals their secret to the other party, and the private key is never assembled, ensuring there is no single point of failure.