According to the latest filings at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Orchid Labs is willing to raise $125 million in SAFT sale. SAFTs – or Simple Agreements for Future Tokens is a process of fundraising that gives accredited investors the right to claim their blockchain tokens at a future date and all the investing participants need to meet minimum income or asset thresholds as mandated by the SEC.
The San-Francisco-based startup is looking to build an alternative to the anonymous browser software ‘Tor’ by developing its own surveillance-free layer atop the internet. As per the information on Form D published on April 20, Orchid has raised a total of $36.1 million till now out its projected target of $125 million. According to the information available on the Orchid Labs website, some of the early investors in the startup include Blockchain Capital, DFJ, Compound, MetaStable, BoxGroup, Andreessen Horowitz, and Sequoia Capital.
The major aim of Orchid is to provide anonymized Internet access to people around the globe, especially in regions and countries having excessive government scrutiny and oversight of the user’s browsing activities. Part of this goal is to isolate users from companies that now sell their data including big giants like Facebook.
Moreover, Orchid argues in its whitepaper that Tor can be compromised due to the shortage of network nodes. Orchid aims at providing an alternative to the Virtual Private Network (VPN) that allows users to trust the providers. Such projects gain a higher appeal at a time after the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal which is just a fractional part of the larger picture of data abuse.
In order to ensure that its network involves higher participation, the Orchid’s solution will allow bandwidth providers and users to exchange Ethereum-based Orchid tokens. By using such micropayments on the Ethereum blockchain, Orchid’s network is completely decentralized in contrast to the VPNs.
While having a word with CoinDesk, during the earlier fundraising round, Orchid’s co-founder and CEO Steven Waterhouse said: “This is about anti-surveillance and anti-censorship, the ability to not be tracked. We see this not just in China or the Middle East, but in this country, in states that are considered to be free. If you go back in history, there was a lot more concern about privacy on the internet before Facebook.”
Orchid Labs has been started by five founders coming from completely different and diverse industrial backgrounds. This includes Steve Waterhouse who is a long-term investor with the digital currencies-focused firm Pantera Capital, Stephen Bell with seven years of experience as a managing director at Trilogy Ventures, Gustav Simonsson – a former developer at Ethereum foundation, software engineer Jay Freeman, and Brian Fox who is known for building the first interactive online banking software for Wells Fargo.
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