Anonymous DAO tomi raises $40M for 'surveillance-free' internet

Alternative internet developer tomi has raised $40 million from venture capital firms as part of a broader effort to lure content creators to its decentralized World Wide Web alternative. 

The funding round was led by venture firms DWF Labs, Ticker Capital and Piha Equities, as well as Japanese crypto investor Hirokado Kohji, tomi announced on March 21. The funding will be used by tomi to attract publishers and further develop its network, which is described as a “surveillance-free alternative” to the internet.

The tomi project launched in 2022 as a decentralized cloud computing network. The project is led by an anonymous group of crypto industry veterans who set out to create a version of the internet governed by a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO. The tomiDAO is tasked with network governance, including voting on code alteration proposals and reaching consensus on managing content that violates community guidelines.

Related: DAO gets legal recognition in the US as Utah DAO Act passes

When asked how tomi helps users monetize their content, a spokesperson for the company clarified that all monetization efforts are facilitated through the network’s native token, TOMI. “The token is utilized as the primary currency for various activities within our network,” such as buying domains, paying transaction fees on tomi’s layer-2 network and participating in voting activities.

DAOs are blockchain-based entities with no central ownership governed by self-organizing communities. Their utility has seemingly grown over the years as more organizations look to implement bottom-up decision-making without hierarchical management. DAOs have enjoyed limited endorsement from governments, with the Marshall Islands moving to recognize DAOs as legal entities in 2022.

Adopting a decentralized internet could enhance digital ownership by encouraging open services powered by decentralized apps rather than centralized applications controlled by major technology companies. The push for decentralization is currently being marshaled by Web3 companies, which have raised billions in venture capital to advance their version of Web3.

Cointelegraph asked tomi’s anonymous developers to explain the biggest adoption drivers facing their project. “Our main challenge lies in becoming a lucrative domain for the vast amount of content available on the internet, as well as attracting users who are already comfortable with the traditional internet platform,” they said, adding:

“The largest challenge we took upon ourselves by providing alternatives to the tech titans is the mission to re-educate the masses that they can have control again.”

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