A London-based stealth startup, founded by four former execs from Revolut and Ledger, has quietly raised a €12m seed round.
The crypto company, called Deblock, was founded last year by three Revolut alumni: former COO Adriana Restrepo, head of crypto Jean Meyer and head of payments Aaron Beck; alongside ex-head of engineering at Ledger Mario Eguiluz. Meyer is the group CEO.
Deblock quietly raised a €12m seed round in October from Harry Stebbings’ firm 20VC, Headline, Hoxton Ventures, Kima Ventures and Kraken Ventures, according to Companies House filings. Headline partner and Azimo cofounder Michael Kent, 20VC partner Kieran Hill and Hoxton Ventures partner Rob Kniaz all sit on the company’s board, alongside Restrepo and Beck, the filings show.
What does Deblock do?
Deblock is building a non-custodial crypto wallet and off-ramping banking service, which allows people to access, store, deposit, exchange and cash out cryptocurrencies. Being non-custodial means that customers have full control over their crypto holdings; they hold a private "key" and control transactions themselves.
The startup will let users cash out their crypto in fiat currencies (known as off-ramping) and offer a bank account as well as physical and virtual debit cards to customers. There will be two pricing plans — a free basic subscription and a "pro" membership for £14.99 a month. Deblock has also already released an NFT.
Custodial wallets are a common entry point for newcomers to crypto, where a third party (like a crypto exchange) holds the private key to someone’s assets. This makes it easy to access them on any internet device, but makes users vulnerable to attacks on third parties.
The crypto crowd views non-custodial wallets as the structure that allows them to truly “own” their crypto assets.
On its website, Deblock pitches its product as “the safest non-custodial wallet in the world to own, transfer, deposit, and exchange crypto or cash interchangeably so you can finally own your money”.
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It says it’s using “multi-party computation”, which would mean that hackers would need to make “coordinated attacks on different and independent systems” to get hold of people’s crypto.
Customers’ keys aren’t held by third parties, and Deblock says its customers’ "shards" — the code for access to their wallet — are encrypted and never accessible either to Deblock or to any third parties. Deblock says it provides users a way to recover their wallet independently even if Deblock disappears — relevant, given the recent collapses of crypto companies like FTX and Celsius.
What else do we know?
Deblock has 30 employees at its London HQ, according to its website and LinkedIn. It’s currently hiring for one more role — a machine learning engineer, to develop products using ChatGPT, according to Restrepo’s LinkedIn.
It plans to launch in the UK and France, where it's submitted applications for an electronic money institution licence and crypto registration with the relevant regulators.
This article was updated on 18th May, after Deblock provided more details after publication. The article was updated to state the raise was €12m, rather than $12m; to say that Meyer will be CEO; that Deblock will launch in the UK and France, where it's seeking regulatory approval; and that Deblock has already released an NFT.