Chain Reaction to build cryptographic chips with fresh $70m


Fin is a former junior editor at TechForge.

Chain Reaction, an Israeli startup designing semiconductors for blockchain and privacy hardware, has emerged from stealth following a $70 million (£58m) Series C funding round.

The Tel Aviv-based firm’s specialty chips and related architecture are designed to support cryptographic processes, most notably in the breakthrough field of homomorphic encryption, an approach to privacy that encrypts data as it is used.

Morgan Creek Digital led this third round, taking the company’s total raised capital to $115 million (£95m), with participation from Hanaco Ventures, Jerusalem Venture Partners, KCK Capital, and others.

While a semiconductor company emerging from stealth with $115 million for a ground-breaking new technology may come as a surprise, the history of its two co-founders helps to explain its substantial backing.

CEO Alan Webman is the former co-founder of Mellanox, acquired by Nvidia for $7 billion in 2020, and CTO Oren Yokev has decades of experience as a leader of cyber and then tech within the Israeli government.

Webman said the Chain Reaction chip will support full homomorphic encryption, allowing users to work on data while keeping the chip encrypted:

“We think our solution will make homomorphic encryption viable. We have unique architecture and we also understand the limitations on compute and memory among processors today. We have the solution needed to make it possible.”

The company plans to use the funding to expand its team. Currently sat at 100 employees, with backgrounds at Nvidia, Mellanox, and even Israeli intel, the company will need to grow to begin getting its products to market this quarter.

Initial products will include the company’s current blockchain chip, Electrum, which is designed to accelerate hashing processes and cryptocurrency mining.

A second product comes in the form of a cloud data infrastructure solution designed to run privacy enhancing technologies.

Mark Yusko, CEO and CIO of Morgan Creek Capital Management, said: “We fully expect Chain Reaction’s blockchain products will become the new industry standard in blockchain compute infrastructure, laying the foundation for all future sustainable blockchain technologies”

“Blockchain is the key to securing democracy, decentralisation, and freedom, but it is compute intensive. Chain Reaction’s products will shore up the value of predominant blockchain technologies and revolutionise use-cases for blockchain technologies in the not-so-distant future.”

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