Former a16z Execs To Launch Institutional Crypto Custody Firm

Former a16z Execs To Launch Institutional Crypto Custody Firm

Former senior technology and security executives from venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Riyaz Faizullabhoy and Nassim Eddequiouaq, have reportedly started an institutional-focused cryptocurrency custody firm.

The duo, who had held the positions of Chief Technology Officer and Chief Information Security Officer at a16z, have received the firm's blessing and seed backing for the new venture.

Before joining a16z, the tandem co-created the crypto custody infrastructure for Facebook's Novi (formerly Calibra) wallet. Calibra, introduced by Facebook in June 2019, was designed as a digital wallet to facilitate transactions using the proposed cryptocurrency Libra. The project faced significant backlash from regulators and policymakers, leading to the withdrawal of support from several founding members of the Libra Association. In December 2020, Facebook rebranded Calibra as Novi and the Libra Association changed its name to Diem Association, signaling a shift in focus.

The Diem Association redesigned the project into a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar and other major currencies, aiming to comply with regulatory requirements. Novi, as a digital wallet, supports Diem and other cryptocurrencies, providing users with a secure platform for digital asset transactions. Throughout Novi's development, security has been a top priority, with Nassim and Riyaz playing a significant role in building its crypto custody infrastructure.

Previously, a16z Crypto had onboarded Nassim and Riyaz to consult with projects in the a16z Crypto portfolio, helping scale the firm's operations. The pair ventured further into the crypto space at Anchorage, focusing on securing private keys within large distributed infrastructures. Institutional crypto custody is a competitive space, with various technologies available to manage cryptographic keys for hedge funds, asset managers, and banks.

Before their involvement with blockchain technologies, the duo met at Docker, where they worked on securing application provenance, authentication systems, and designing the secure OS used in Docker Desktop. Docker is an open-source platform that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of cloud applications by shaping containerized environments for cloud deployment. Containers are lightweight, portable units that allow developers to package an application along with its dependencies, such as libraries, configuration files, and runtime environment, making sure that an app runs consistently and predictably across different environments, regardless of the underlying infrastructure.

With this experience, the two are now shifting their focus to building a new crypto custody firm, leveraging their expertise in blockchain security and engineering. Crypto custody is a crucial component of the blockchain ecosystem, offering secure storage and management of digital assets for institutional investors. With their solid background in crypto custody infrastructure development, Nassim and Riyaz are well-equipped to address the growing need for secure and reliable custody services in the rapidly evolving crypto landscape.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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