Bison Trails founders Aaron Henshaw and Joe Lallouz

I first met Joe and Aaron from Bison Trails about a year ago, and in the short time since our conversation many of the things we discussed in that meeting have come to pass.

Multiple new proof-of-stake networks have launched, Ethereum has made real progress toward a 2.0 release that no longer using proof-of-work, and Facebook has proposed a major non-proof-of-work blockchain in Libra.

Through it all — and precisely as we discussed back then — running nodes on these nascent networks has proven complex and risky, clearly evidenced by the fact that operators of proof-of-stake nodes have lost meaningful amounts of money by running afoul of network rules and getting the tokens they had at stake slashed.

Initialized is extremely happy to be able to follow-on upon our original investment in Bison Trails, this time among an even larger coalition of amazing investors in a $25.5M round led by Blockchain Capital. The round also includes new investors Kleiner Perkins, Coinbase, Collaborative Fund, A Capital, Consensys, Sound Ventures, as well as fellow previous investors Accomplice, Galaxy Digital, and Notation.

Even as an investor who was quite bullish on the founders and opportunity, I’ve been impressed at the speed at which Bison Trails has executed on their vision. In less time than I might have guessed possible, they have been able to amass a deeply technical team and build out a robust infrastructure layer that is able to scale with customer demand and automatically recover from server and network errors. Their level of engagement with new networks has established them not just as a trusted brand, but as a community resource, capable of helping these projects avoid all the pitfalls they’ve seen to date.

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Although we’ve seen many major launches in the last twelve months, we are just getting started. The number of high profile crypto networks scheduled to launch in the next year is slightly overwhelming. (Upon quick review, I can list ETH 2.0, Ava, Tupelo, Libra, Polkadot, Solana, Skale, Kadena, TON, Near, NuCypher, Keep, Celo, Filecoin, dfinity, Flow, Hashgraph, Orchid, Oasis, Coda and so on.)

I predict that twelve months from now the entire ecosystem will have a much better idea about what is viable in novel network architectures and consensus mechanisms. And I expect Bison Trails to continue to be behind the scenes, running nodes on all these networks, and finding out first hand what is working and what is not.

It’s a very exciting time in crypto generally with the number of new experiments being run. What is even better than that is having a front row seat at the company building the infrastructure behind them all.