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Chainalysis Inc.

Chainalysis: Announcing Our Series B

Below is an article originally written by PowerToFly Partner Chainalysis, and published on February 12, 2019. Go to Chainalysis' page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

Reflecting on how far we've come and where we're going - as cited in Fortune, Coindesk, and the Accel Blog.

One of our company values is "radical gradualism." It reflects the combination of our big ambitions— to build foundational technology for the reinvention of the world's financial system— with our insistence on debating every important decision along the way. We are thoughtfully and deliberately paving the way for the responsible use of cryptocurrency among governments, financial institutions, cryptocurrency businesses, and consumers. This is no small task. That is why we are excited to announce that to further our mission of building trust in blockchains, we've raised a $30M Series B led by Accel, with participation from existing investors.

We have come a long way since we announced our $16M Series A in April 2018. We:

  • Continued to grow our data advantage. We now support 85% of the top twenty coins by trading volume.
  • Deployed Chainalysis KYT (Know Your Transaction), our real-time anti-money laundering and compliance solution for cryptocurrencies, and now have over 100 financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges signed up to use it.
  • Expanded our coverage beyond Bitcoin to include Ether, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and stablecoins to better analyze the funds involved in money laundering schemes, track contributions to ICO scams, and identify other forms of illicit activity in both Chainalysis Reactor, our investigations solution, and Chainalysis KYT (Know Your Transaction), our compliance solution.
  • Broadened our support of global investigations with Chainalysis Reactor and have now tracked billions of dollars of stolen funds.

This is just the beginning. Illicit activity will continue to increase in absolute terms as the industry grows and as institutions prepare to transact in cryptocurrency. We will use our new funding to grow our global footprint, double down on our data, invest even more in new cryptocurrencies and multi-currency support, and continue to improve our compliance and investigation software. There is significant work to do in preparation for regulatory clarity and the institutionalization and mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency.

Growing our global footprint

Although we've had feet on the ground in London for a while, we are excited to officially open an office there. As our second European office following Copenhagen, London will act as our hub for European business as well as anchoring our research. We will look to double our headcount there, tapping into London's deep talent pool. The city is optimal for its proximity to top universities that increasingly recognize cryptocurrency as a technology poised to reshape the way people exchange value across the world. The office will position us to work with the major financial institutions and cryptocurrency businesses based in that market, as well as European governments. It's also convenient that our newest board member, Accel's Philippe Botteri, is based in London!

Additionally, we expect to continue to grow our business in APAC. In particular, cryptocurrency businesses founded in the region are quickly adopting anti-money laundering (AML) technology like ours in order to compete in the global arena and engage with users in the U.S. and Europe, and we expect this trend to continue. Cryptocurrency is borderless by design, and our technology can be used seamlessly across the world, regardless of local or international regulations.

Doubling down on data

Our core objective is to organize the world's blockchain data and make it accessible and useful to governments, financial institutions, and cryptocurrency businesses. We are doubling down on our investment in our people and technology that builds our understanding of how and why people use cryptocurrencies. Specifically, we are building a team that is focused on attributing more services associated with criminal activity, including darknet markets, scams, ransomware, terrorist financing, and sanctions evasion.

Our investigations and compliance software are only as good as our underlying historical data. It's like Netflix building a catalogue: the new shows are great, but they also need the classics for a complete collection. Chainalysis is the only company that has been systematically collecting information that links real world entities to blockchain transactions since 2014.

We analyze new cryptocurrencies far in advance of launching them in our products. This year, we'll prepare for coins that we expect to launch in 2020. We maintain rigorous standards on our level of data coverage before we make new coins available in our products. This ensures fast investigations and accurate risk scores for our customers.

Investing even more in new cryptocurrencies and multi-currency support

We know it's critical for our customers that we cover the most widely used cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency businesses need to monitor the breadth of coins and tokens they support, and investigators need to trace across multiple blockchains. That's why we overhauled our infrastructure and completely rethought how to best support multiple cryptocurrencies in our products. Now we're prioritizing the cryptocurrencies that have significant market share or are particularly meaningful to our customers. Last month we announced our expansion into stablecoins, with Paxos and TrustToken as our launch partners for Chainalysis KYT for Stablecoins. Stay tuned for additional coins and tokens rolling out over the next several months.

Continually improving our compliance and investigation software to create the fair marketplace for the responsible adoption of cryptocurrencies

We believe cryptocurrencies' open ledgers can actually set the standard for "regtech" once overarching regulation is in place. By harnessing technology like ours, regulators, compliance departments, consultancies, and Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) can gain unprecedented insight into how and why people move money across the world. In addition to this transparency, blockchain compliance technology can screen transactions in real time. This visibility and velocity means cryptocurrency can, in many circumstances, help identify underlying risks better than in traditional financial markets.

In other words, we're ready to help governments, financial institutions, and cryptocurrency businesses enforce and comply with regulations across jurisdictions. That said, we are always improving Chainalysis Reactor and Chainalysis KYT to help our customers navigate a world in which cryptocurrency is more clearly regulated and therefore more mainstream. We're focused on making our powerful software easier to use and releasing advanced features for even more insight and control.

Blockchains' potential to bring positive change is broad, ranging from streamlining remittances to serving the underbanked in the U.S. and abroad. But there is a long road ahead before cryptocurrency fulfills this potential. Building trust— among governments, financial institutions, cryptocurrency businesses, and consumers— is the most vital step in cryptocurrency's transformation into an invaluable technology that protects our safety and enables greater prosperity. We believe this radical transformation is best done gradually, and we're looking forward to this exciting next phase of our company's— and our industry's— growth.

We're growing! Check out our 25+ open roles here.

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Why Female Presidential Candidates Are Still Told to Be Chill, Not Shrill

The Dated, Everyday Tech Stifling Women's Voices Shows the Importance of Diversity in Tech

"You're not like other girls. You're so...chill."

I've gotten that "compliment" from multiple guys in multiple contexts — and I'm ashamed to admit that until a few years ago, I took it as one.

Occasionally I'd wonder why. After all, anyone who knows me well knows I am the Anti-Chill: a tightly wound stress ball, ready to explode into tears at any given moment.

So what was giving these guys the wrong impression? As it turns out, it was my voice. My cool, unnaturally-deep-for-a-woman, never-shrill voice.

And if I'm honest, I always prided myself on not sounding 'like other girls.' No uptalk or high-pitched squeals of glee from me. I thought I sounded smarter and more serious. Talk about internalized misogyny.

This isn't just me though. There is a societal double bind that forces women to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the right pitch and tone for each situation.

Just consider the advice that Democratic-debate coach Christine Jahnke gave female candidates to avoid being labeled as shrill: "… go slow and low. Very purposefully slow your pace and lower the tone a bit, because that will add meaning or gravitas to whatever it is you're talking about."

In a nutshell: try and sound chill, not shrill.

What I didn't know, until recently, is how this bias against women's natural voices is being reinforced and amplified by century-old technology. (Just one of many examples of how technology designed by and for men ends up hurting women in the long-run.)

Author Tina Tallon explains this little-known fact in her recent New Yorker article, summarized below:

How 20th Century Tech Is Holding 21st Century Women Back

With the rise of commercial broadcast radio in the 1920s, women's voices began getting critiqued. As Tallon explains, station directors asserted that "women sounded 'shrill,' 'nasal,' and 'distorted.'" So when industry standards were set, directors didn't take women's voices into account.

When Congress limited the bandwidth available to each radio station in 1927, station directors set a bandwidth that would provide the minimum amount of information necessary to understand "human" speech.

They used lower voices as their benchmark, so the higher frequency components of women's speech necessary to understand certain consonants were cut, making women's voices less intelligible.

  • Researcher J.C. Steinberg asserted that, "nature has so designed woman's speech that it is always most effective when it is of soft and well-modulated tone." He explained that if a woman raised her voice on air, it would exceed the limitations of the equipment. As Tallon says, "He viewed this as a personal and biological failing on women's part, not a technical one on his."

Why You Should Care

Women have always been told to lower their voices, but this 20th century approach to sound frequencies is still accepted as the standard, literally forcing women to lower their voices if they want to be heard.

  • To this day, many algorithms and speakers distort women's speech by limiting higher frequencies, causing women's voices to lose definition and clarity.

Tallon sums it up well:

"Consequently, women are still receiving the same advice that they were given in the nineteen-twenties: lower the pitch of your voice, and don't show too much emotion. By following that advice, women expose themselves to another set of criticisms, which also have a long history: they lack personality, or they sound 'forced' and 'unnatural.'"


----

So as we continue to grapple with implicit biases against women, from what it means to be "presidential" to who's considered an "innovative leader," let's remember the importance of diversity in tech.

Had a woman been involved in researching/setting the standards for radio frequencies, she might've been able to steer the industry towards a voiceband that would allow men and women to be heard equally well. And perhaps had a more impartial voiceband been established, I'd have heard a more diverse range of female speakers growing up, and internalized fewer biases myself.

That's why we care so much at PowerToFly about making sure cutting-edge companies have diverse teams.

Times were different then, sure, but the fact that Depression Era standards are still impacting how we hear (or don't hear) women's voices is a vital reminder that what we do today impacts our world for centuries to come.

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