a16z leads $25m round for Bastion to bridge corporates to web3

Amid a crypto downturn, startup Bastion successfully garners $25 million in a funding round spearheaded by a16z crypto, aiming to ease blockchain use for conventional businesses.

Bastion, a startup supported by Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto arm, a16z crypto, emerges from stealth mode. Co-founded by Riyaz Faizullabhoy and Nassim Eddequiouaq — former chief technology and chief security officers at Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto division — Bastion recently raised $25 million in a funding round.

Notably, this fundraising comes amidst a bear market for digital assets.

“It was clear that even as crypto came back down into another bear market, this time crypto is very much here to stay.”

Riyaz Faizullabhoy, Bastion co-founder

The startup aims to be a bridge for traditional companies looking to venture into the world of web3 — the decentralized version of the internet built on blockchain technology. According to the founders, there’s untapped demand from various sectors, including fashion, education, and social media, to adopt blockchain technology.

They aim to facilitate “the next billion” users’ entry into this transformative space by offering compliant custodial wallet infrastructure for tokens and NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

“We’ve long held the view that for web3 to reach its full potential, the space needs compliant, secure custodial wallet infrastructure for NFTs and tokens… Bastion is building exactly this.”

Arianna Simpson, general partner at a16z crypto

However, this ambitious endeavor comes with challenges, primarily the complex regulatory environment, especially in the United States.

To navigate these choppy waters, Bastion’s first hires included regulatory and compliance executives from crypto exchanges like Kraken. This preemptive move signifies the company’s awareness of the regulatory scrutiny looming over the crypto industry.

Moreover, Bastion finds itself in a competitive market. Existing startups like Fireblocks already provide similar custody solutions and have been selected as partners by financial institutions such as the Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Therefore, Bastion must carve a unique value proposition to differentiate itself from existing players.

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