Haun Ventures announced on Thursday that the firm has led a $3.5 million seed round for Witness, a new blockchain infrastructure startup. Other investors in the round included Coinbase Ventures and a number of angel investors. The funds were raised last fall and will primarily go toward hiring, Witness co-founder Joe Coll told Unchained in a call. 

Haun Ventures was established in early 2022 by Katie Haun, a former federal prosecutor and partner at venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). The firm raised $1.5 billion for two new crypto funds shortly after it debuted. 

Witness has created infrastructure that can help developers have both the flexibility and cost savings of offchain data and the security and ownership benefits of Web3. Users of decentralized applications (dapps) get verifiable ownership without high transaction fees, and developers have an easier way to integrate Web3 technologies at any scale. 

The startup was co-founded last year by Sina Sabet, an alum of Google and crypto VC firm Paradigm, and Coll, a former investor at Framework Ventures. The duo noticed that some dapp users were discouraged by the need to pay every time they interacted with a network, which made it harder to see the utility or usefulness of the app. 

“That was the core idea behind Witness,” said Coll. “What is the most basic fundamental utility we can extend from existing blockchains so that an average person can actually gain utility from these networks, even without thinking about it or knowing it’s happening.”

Utility With Fewer Transaction Fees

Dapps store their data onchain to take advantage of the blockchain’s security and ownership features, which also come with potentially expensive transaction fees each time data is sent to the chain. 

Witness doesn’t charge fees per transaction. Developers submit data to Witness, which collects the data over a period of time, compresses the data and then records a summary of that data across multiple blockchains. Developers receive time-stamped proof that this onchain record was made correctly, and it remains verifiable by anyone on the public blockchain.

The founders say that this allows developers to move away from recording every piece of data immediately to the blockchain to selectively recording essential data, which cuts costs and makes it easier to scale. 

“Witness introduces a new way to use blockchains,” said Coll. “We’re extending this very explicit resource that we think is valuable and that blockchains very uniquely provide. And we’re trying to extend that to massive amounts of data.”