Japan’s Orb launches blockchain-based cloud computing platform, lands $2.3M funding



See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based startup Orb (previous known as Coinpass) announced on Tuesday that it has introduced a decentralized cloud computing system leveraging a blockchain-based authentication technology under the same name. As an application using this system, the company launched a cryptocurrency management platform called SmartCoin on Monday.

Coinciding with the launch at this time, Orb announced that it will close a funding round worth 274 million yen (or about $2.3 million) from SBI Investment, Japanese online marketing company Ceres (TSE:3696), investment company United, online affiliate and advertising services company Adways (TSE:2489), and Monex Ventures next week.

Blockchain, a component technology of Bitcoin, is now applied to various services requiring secured and high-level authentication management. But the downside of it is that mining the blockchain takes time and costs much upon securing the resources needed. Orb adopts the multi-blockchain technology, where different blockchains are used according to the “economic community subset” users belong to compared with typical systems using a single common blockchain for the entire platform. As such, a blockchain requiring 10 minutes to authenticate on the Bitcoin system can be processed in only 5 seconds on the Orb platform. Given that typical credit card online authorization process requiring 8 seconds, the processing on the Orb platform works is much quicker. Orb provides a SDK (software developer kit) that enables developers to implement blockchain-based authentication into mobile apps without using data center servers or hardware chips for mining calculation, so its usage cases are expanding into a wider range of services such as authentication for payments or contract agreement signings.

Orb is led by CEO Masaaki Keith Nakatsu, the former APAC director at notable retargeting ad company Criteo (FRA:CI5A), as well as COO Tadatoshi Senoo, the founder of Japanese P2P lending platform Maneo. Their team includes many developers who are familiar with Bitcoin and Blockchain technologies. One may download here the white paper for the platform authored by these developers.

Upon launch, Nakatsu provided The Bridge with the following comment:

Blockchain is a technology that may create the third IT revolution following personal computers and the Internet, garnering attention from global financial institutions and IT companies in Silicon Valley. […] With the launch of our project at a level similar to MIT Media Lab’s Enigma platform, we hope it can help competent engineers from Japan make themselves more involved in such technologies.

Osaka-based Bitcoin startup Tech Bureau introduced a blockchain technology for closed use called Mijin last week. This is also expected to replace conventional database technologies so we shall keep our eyes on further developments.

In Shibuya on Monday, people from media outlets, MIT Media Lab’s Japanese community member companies and VC firms gathered at a showcase event to hear about Orb’s future strategy. (image from Nakatsu’s Facebook timeline)

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy