An EU-regulated fund, High Tech Private Equity Fund SICAV plc, managed by Accuro Fund Solutions, has acquired nChain, a technology group associated with Craig Wright, a scientist who previously claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto.
SICAV claims the new acquisition is the biggest to date involving bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology. SICAV put no value on the deal and did not mention Wright in its press release.
Reuters identified nChain, previously known as EITC Holdings, as Wright’s vehicle for filing hundreds of blockchain and bitcoin-related patents.
Records from the U.K. confirmed that the target company, under both the nChain and EITC names, has filed more than 80 blockchain- and bitcoin-related patents.
A $300 Million Deal?
A source close to the deal told Reuters $300 million was invested in nChain, but did not clarify over what time period.
Wright told Reuters the goal is to build bitcoin into a global “system with no ruler, no king.”
“All I do is to help grow the use of bitcoin, and I want to see it in daily use by at least a billion people on-chain. We have the funds, the people and the technology to do this,” Wright told Reuters.
Reuters previously reported Wright was working with Calvin Ayre, a Canadian online gambling tycoon, to create a patent portfolio.
nChain told Reuters via email that neither Wright nor Ayre had a stake in the company before or after the sale. nChain said it previously acquired Wright’s assets and intellectual property, and that he now holds the post of chief scientist.
Reuters also previously learned that Wright was deeply involved in the early development of bitcoin, and had told Australian tax officials he owned more than 1 million bitcoins.
nChain Acknowledges Its Patents
Thursday’s announcement marked the first time nChain publicly acknowledged it is filing patents.
nChain is a distributed, decentralized ledger that chronologically records transactions in an immutable way.
The nChain group of companies has grown to a team of more than 60 scientific research, engineering and other professionals based mainly in Vancouver, Canada and London, U.K. The acquisition will support nChain’s research activities and advance blockchain adoption globally.
“While learning about the suite of nChain’s capabilities through the transaction, it became clear to me that we are in a new era of the digital age following the creation of the personal computer and the Internet,” Arthur Davis, who has been appointed as a director of nChain Holdings Limited, stated in the press release. “This changes everything leading us into what we at nChain call the Internet of Transactions.”
Davis said nChain has designed a blockchain infrastructure to transform the way businesses operate. He said the technology will be disruptive on a scale most people have not yet fully appreciated.
“nChain sees the full extent of this disruption being achieved by maximizing transactional velocity on the bitcoin blockchain,” he said.
nChain’s research demonstrates its vision through:
• Removing the bitcoin blockchain’s “artificial” block size limit (temporarily set at 1MB) to support greater scalability and usage;
• Enabling on-chain scaling without undermining the benefits of decentralization;
• Advancing native scripting to build smart contracts; and
• Supporting open source protocols.
nChain is developing protocols and applications to support blockchain growth globally. There is a software development kit to allow programmers to create applications on the bitcoin blockchain, solutions to scale the bitcoin blockchain, innovations to improve security, on-chain smart contracts scripting, and a decentralized trading platform using autonomous agents.
nChain supports the formation of a neutral standards organization that will coordinate the bitcoin protocol. This will deliver a stronger software design. Ensuring the bitcoin blockchain’s long-term advance makes it essential to harmonize a miner’s objective of profitability and the importance of the governance principles led by the software development community.
“The patent program at nChain involves some of the most complex technologies we have ever seen, and stands at the forefront of blockchain innovation worldwide,” said Cerian Jones, a partner at Urquhart-Dykes & Lord LLP and nChain’s lead patent attorney.
nChain’s Future Plans
nChain plans to make some intellectual property assets available to the blockchain community through royalty-free licensing and open sourcing.
“This acquisition is directly aligned with our investment objective of identifying and supporting world-leading disruptive technology innovators,” said Michel Van Zanten, who oversaw the transaction for the investors. “We were attracted to nChain’s core infrastructure capabilities and technical understanding of how a globally scalable enterprise-class architecture can be built to transform the way in which the world operates.”
Nuovo Capital served as nChain’s financial advisor for the transaction. Baker McKenzie, a law firm, advised nChain on IP, tax and corporate aspects of the transaction.
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