Ripple’s fundraising arm Xpring announced in a blog post on April 17 that it has joined several companies to invest in Bolt Labs, a startup aiming to deliver “instant, cheap and private payments” by adding a layer of anonymity to existing networks.
Zooko Wilcox, CEO of the Electric Coin Company — the firm behind Zcash — confirmed to Forbes that his company also contributed to Bolt Labs’ seed round. Wilcox has also been appointed as an advisor to the startup.
In a blog post setting out its vision, Bolt Labs said it wants to create “scalable, fast and private payment networks that are as pervasive and rival traditional payment networks such as Visa.”
While Bolt Labs said second-layer blockchain protocols such as the Lightning Network have achieved “remarkable” growth, the startup said Lightning’s payment channels are not private by default, meaning information about payees can be leaked.
According to the startup’s website, its technology will enable payments to be made by users anonymously. Bolt Labs adds that its privacy protections “rely on zero-knowledge proofs, based on the research of leading scientists and cryptographers.”
Bolt Labs believes its approach will make it easier for everyday payments and purchases to be made using bitcoin (BTC,) ethereum (ETH) and Zcash.
Zcash is among a series of so-called privacy coins which aim to deliver greater levels of anonymity to users. Such cryptocurrencies have left some international regulators concerned — and in March, a senior French politician suggested they should be banned.