Monday, June 3, 2019

Samourai Wallet Raises First Funding Round in Fight Against Bitcoin Surveillance

By Brady Dale
Monday, June 3, 2019

The team behind the privacy-obsessed bitcoin app, Samourai Wallet, has gotten its first round of venture funding.

Founded by two former developers at, Keonne Rodriguez and William Hill, the wallet’s maintainer, Katana Cryptographic, has received a $100,000 investment from Cypherpunk Holdings.

Samourai Wallet has been built for Android users, specifically designed to enhance privacy while using bitcoin.

“There is no other cryptocurrency that is as battle-tested and hardened as bitcoin,” Rodriguez, Katana’s director, told CoinDesk in an email. “The founding team of Samourai has zero interest in working on other coins, or even other layers of bitcoin at this time.”

The wallet has a number of features that provide greater privacy for users, such as a service that puts intermediary hops in a transaction in order to create uncertainty about which wallet pays for what. Another feature makes it difficult to trace the provenance of someone’s bitcoin. The company earns a small fee, in bitcoin, from users that make use of these services.

Samourai also provides a privacy-enhancing service called “stonewall” for free. Stonewall creates doubt about the ownership of bitcoin in a given transaction. The company is also offering a forthcoming hardware product, called Dojo, which is a user-friendly bitcoin node built to work with the wallet.
High marks

Still an alpha release in the works since 2015, Samourai has 27,000 users, according to the company. Its first full version should come out in June. Rodriguez said it will use the funding to expand its development, customer service and quality assurance program, all of which have been put under significant pressure by the wallet’s growth.

The products have personally impressed John Carvalho, a longtime bitcoin user who currently works at Bitrefill. Carvalho told CoinDesk:

“I have respect for any company that adds utility for Bitcoiners and Samourai is clearly willing to go against the grain to add privacy options for users. If Bitcoin is freedom money, Samourai are freedom fighters.”

A similar sentiment spurred the investment itself. Cypherpunk, a venture fund listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker symbol HODL, was set up as an investment vehicle to support privacy-enhancing technology.

Cypherpunk Holdings Inc. Becomes Lead Investor in Samourai Wallet

Press Release
Monday, June 3, 2019

Deal Emphasizes Cypherpunk's Commitment to Funding Outstanding Privacy Technology

Toronto, Ontario--(Newsfile Corp. - June 3, 2019) - Cypherpunk Holdings Inc. (CSE: HODL) ("Cypherpunk" or the "Company") is pleased to announce it has become the lead investor in Katana Cryptographic Ltd., whose main product is Samourai Wallet

Katana Cryptographic is an early-stage, London-based computer software company, focused on developing privacy technologies. Katana has developed numerous algorithms and actively maintains open source software designed to mitigate against common surveillance tactics and enhance transactional privacy.

Its main product, Samourai Wallet, is described by the as "the most secure and privacy-centric Bitcoin wallet currently available in the market." Samourai is still in alpha-mode, but it already has a user-base of 27,000. Full-release 1.0 is expected before the end of June.

Katana's founders, Keonne Rodriguez and William Hill, were, respectively, Product Lead and Lead Mobile Developer at between 2013 and 2016, overseeing the growth of the user-base from from 1m to 6m.

Other Katana privacy technologies include Open Exploration Tool, RicochetStonewall, Whirlpool and Dojo.

Commentating on the investment, Cypherpunk Director Dominic Frisby said: "We met with Katana, and were most impressed with the technologies they are developing and with Katana's commitment to privacy. We share similar values, so are delighted to be able to aid the future development of Katana's products from such an early stage. This deal shows the edge that we at Cypherpunk have."

Cypherpunk Chief Economist Jon Matonis added: "As transactional privacy by default becomes the norm in digital wallets, Samourai may be leading the way in fungibility innovation and maintaining proper coin hygiene."

Katana's CEO Keonne Rodriguez commented, "Katana is excited to have found a partner in Cypherpunk Holdings. We look forward to their partnership and support as we continue executing on our mission to deploy easy to use, privacy enhancing software on the Bitcoin blockchain. Financial sovereignty is more important now than ever before, with the freedom to transact being tantamount to freedom of speech. Cypherpunk Holdings have demonstrated their commitment to these core values and we look forward to working on delivering this vision with their support."

Cypherpunk Holdings Inc. is a vehicle set up to invest in companies, technologies and protocols, which enhance or protect privacy. Its strategy is to make targeted investments in businesses and assets with strong privacy, often within the blockchain ecosystem, including select cryptocurrencies. The stated mission of Cypherpunk Holdings is "to become the world's leading privacy-focused investment vehicle." This is a seed capital investment of US $100,000.

Cypherpunk's common shares trade on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol "HODL".

More details, and the latest company presentation, can be found at the company website:

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information

This news release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Generally, any statements that are not historical facts may contain forward-looking information, and forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or indicates that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be" taken, "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to the Company's goal of making investments in the blockchain and other sectors and enhancing value. There is no assurance that the Company's plans or objectives will be implemented as set out herein, or at all. Forward-looking information is based on certain factors and assumptions the Company believes to be reasonable at the time such statements are made and is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. There can be no assurance that such forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are made based on management's beliefs, estimates and opinions on the date that statements are made and the Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if these beliefs, estimates and opinions or other circumstances should change, except as required by law. Investors are cautioned against attributing undue certainty to forward-looking statements.

Investor Relations Contact:
Marc Henderson,
Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, Cypherpunk Holdings Inc.,
Office: 416.599.8547