Fairblock, company co-founded by Cheriton alumnus Peyman Momeni, secures $2.5M USD for privacy of decentralized applications

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Fairblock, a company co-founded by Cheriton School of Computer Science master’s graduate Peyman Momeni, has secured $2.5 million to build infrastructure to bring conditional encryption and pre-execution privacy to blockchains. 

The recent funding round was led by Galileo Ventures and supported by a consortium of investment firms that include Lemniscap, Dialectic, Robot Ventures, GSR, Chorus One, Dorahacks, and Reverie, as well as several angel investors.

Among the most important aspects of blockchain technology are its decentralization and the immutability of blocks. However, transactions and messages in decentralized applications running on blockchains are not encrypted, which exposes them to malicious parties. Financial transactions can be exploited because sensitive data is leaked before they are executed. And, in other applications, lack of encryption can limit transparent auctions and private voting mechanisms.

photo of Peyman Momeni in the Davis Centre

Peyman Momeni graduated with a master’s degree in computer science in July 2022. His thesis, titled “FairBlock: Preventing Blockchain Front-running with Minimal Overheads,” developed identity-based encryption to prevent front-running, a family of strategies in which a malicious party can manipulate the order of transactions in a blockchain.

He is now applying this research to his company to protect users by bringing conditional encryption and decryption to blockchains.

“We are enabling protocols that will allow users to protect the content of their transaction during the execution of the application. It’s like HTTPS for the Internet of the future,” Peyman explained. “The key point is that blockchains can help us to build more trustful decentralized applications, but it also comes with some risk of malicious activities because you are leaking the contents of your activity during the interaction with these applications. At Fairblock, we are encrypting transactions to protect users during their interaction with the applications, ensuring their transactions remain private and secure.”

Fairblock will accomplish this by applying expertise in applied cryptography — including identity-based encryption and fully homomorphic encryption, which allows computation on encrypted data — to protect users from exploitation by malicious parties that are observing the communication, unlocking new decentralized applications that better serve users.

“We will use the funding to hire the best talent, the best developers and researchers in the space to build these advanced cryptography technologies,” Peyman said.

“My co-founder Bowen You and most of our team at Fairblock are from the University of Waterloo. There is an incredible amount of talent here. In fact, Waterloo is an epicentre of blockchain technology, arguably starting with Vitalik Buterin, a Cheriton student who co-founded Ethereum, a decentralized blockchain, and it continues with Liam Horne of Optimism, a protocol for scaling Ethereum. And of course, with Axelar, a company that secures cross-chain communications that was co-founded by my master’s supervisor, Professor Sergey Gorbunov.”

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