KPCB Edge has gone public with Edgecoin, a private blockchain project the investment firm will use to reward startup founders who help both KPCB and other portfolio members.
With the formal launch, the early-stage investment firm, launched in June, will provide all its investors with an Edgecoin web wallet containing 10 edgecoins. As a first use case, founders who identify other entrepreneurs who they believe KPCB should invest in are able to spend their edgecoins as a way to signal their trust in that individual or team.
KPCB Edge indicates that, following the transaction, it will set up a meeting with the recommended startup within 72 hours, with a full partner meeting taking place if possible.
The company wrote in a blog post:
“Edgecoin serves as a record of valuable ways our founders and advisers help us, allowing them to participate in the upside of successful companies. It also gives us a valuable dataset to observe how our network interacts, and to correlate these to a range of other outcomes of interest.”
KPCB told CoinDesk that it sees Edgecoin as a way to help its founders effectively become limited partners in the fund, sharing in profits when they bring additional value to the firm, and as a way to incentivize partners to help it meet more great startups.
In addition to KPCB Edge founders, the firm said Freada Kapor Klein and Kapor Capital will be using the network to recommend companies for its consideration.
The project has been in beta since early 2015, and as of today, one founding member from each KPCB startup will be granted a web wallet, though developers said this could scale to full founding teams as the project matures.
Developers indicated that the Edgecoin blockchain took about a weekend for the firm to develop, but that creating an interface and user experience on top of this layer took additional time, as did conducting legal due diligence on the service.
The Edgecoin network
Unlike many private blockchain projects, Edgecoin is notable as it is a fork of the alternative digital currency litecoin.
There are a few technical differences between Edgecoin and litecoin, with the most notable being block times are reduced from roughly 2.5 minutes to 1 minute, and that users don’t have to pay transaction fees to send edgecoins.
Edgecoins are also not tradeable on an open market or between founders. Administrators, in turn, have the ability to add new coins to the network, though a finite number, the company said, have been pre-mined, or set aside for KPCB’s use.
Further, as opposed to a global network of distributed computers, KPCB said it has three Amazon EC2 instances and a firewall securing the network.
Project developers said that while founders do have to trust KPCB Edge to run the network, concerns about security aren’t warranted as it’s in the best interest of the firm to ensure that it is not vulnerable to attack.
Edgecoin is currently invite only, though KPCB has made a block explorer for the network public so that others can observe and verify its transactions.
In comments to CoinDesk, the KPCB team also revealed details about transactions, noting that founders who spend coins to recommend a founder do not receive coins back if the firm ultimately does not invest.
Instead, the transaction details would include a status message, which will be updated with a reason as to why KPCB passed on a deal.
Founders whose suggested entrepreneurs are selected, however, are then able to profit from the carry of the investment. The transaction then serves as an irrefutable record of the founder’s contribution.
“If an edgecoin holder wants to prove to others that they executed an edgecoin transaction, and show others the metadata (transaction message, website, etc) associated with it, we will allow them to generate a string containing this data signed by the private key associated with the public key used in the transaction,” the blog post explained.
The string can then be used to independently verify that the sender owns the address in question by validating the signature.
Startup image via Shutterstock