Blockchain Startup XAIN Receives €6 Million in Seed Funding
German startup XAIN has raised €6 million ($7.03 million USD) during a seed funding round. The company, which has developed a blockchain platform for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, has partnerships with Porsche, Nvidia, and Daimler. It is one of several recent moves in the automotive industry towards adopting blockchain technology.
Porsche Technology Partner Gets a Funding Boost
As reported by Tech.eu, XAIN, which stands for eXpandable AI Network, won the first Porsche Innovation Contest in 2017, leading to a partnership between the two companies. The funding round, which was led by German venture capital firm Earlybird, demonstrates the growing interest among car makers in blockchain technology.
XAIN announced the news on Twitter:
We are excited to announce that XAIN has raised €6million in a Seed round led by Earlybird Venture Capital next to strategic Co-Investors from Asia.We are excited to take the next steps together with Earlybird & our Co-Investors! @EarlybirdVC pic.twitter.com/MsQxtxYnoy
— XAIN (@XAIN_AG) June 5, 2018
Porsche and XAIN developed and successfully tested a blockchain-powered hybrid vehicle client in late 2017, which Porsche plans to put into test production in the coming years. For users, the system allows for secure features such as recording traffic data, controlling vehicle access, and being able to track vehicles. For manufacturers such as Porsche, it allows for better vehicle data recording, which could allow for things like predictive maintenance.
Additionally, XAIN would become an app that vehicle manufacturers could integrate with third parties like parcel delivery firms, who could use it to gain access to vehicles for package delivery. Further, XAIN could be used as a data platform for distributed machine learning for autonomous driving.
XAIN’s system consists of three stacks: a layer for clients; a Practical Proof of Kernel Work (PoKW) consensus algorithm; and an Ethereum virtual machine for smart contracts. The PoKW consensus system is a variation of Ethereum’s, with the main difference being that it restricts which nodes can become a block producer to a known sub-set of Ethereum addresses.
The addresses chosen to validate transactions change every block by means of a secret lottery. The system is designed to allow for mobile low-power devices, like the ECUs in connected cars or other IoT devices, to take part in consensus.
XAIN was started as a spin-off of research by founder Leif-Nissen Lundbæk, who studied at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London. Beyond the auto industry, they are also developing applications for the financial services and healthcare sectors.
XAIN A Competitor to IOTA
XAIN technology seems similar in many ways to IOTA, another blockchain-based network that is designed for IoT devices, meaning that the two projects could be viewed as competitors. Volkswagen, the owner of Porsche, has already announced its involvement with IOTA, so it appears VW is casting a wide net.
However, it is notable that neither Volkswagen nor Porsche are taking part in the recently announced Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI), of which both XAIN and IOTA are sponsors. According to the company, XAIN also has partnerships with NVIDIA and Daimler in addition to the Porsche deal.
What’s your take? Will blockchain technology become useful in the IoT arena?
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