EXCLUSIVE. A startup based in Sibiu, Romania, has built a new blockchain in less than 3 years, with 1,000 times more processing capacity than current implementations. With a strong team, and an investment of 5.15 million dollars, they developed a cryptocurrency platform that can process 10,000 transactions per second (compared to just 5-7 transactions in Bitcoin or 15 in Ethereum), and will soon announce a user interface expected to radically simplify blockchain use, make the technology invisible, and bring it to the masses.
We first met at UPGRADE 100 Festival and, again later, in our radio show and podcast. We certainly had our doubts but decided to nonetheless follow through with this distinctive project, called ELROND.
For 1.5 years the venture was initially self-funded by the founders, which then secured a $ 1.9 million investment in the summer of 2019 from Binance Labs, Electric Capital, NGC Partners, Maven 11 and Woodstock in addition to angel investors from several countries.
Three months ago, a text message caught our attention: “We have built a new blockchain from the ground up, to be a thousand times better in terms of scalability.. And there’s more.” Say, what?
A scalable, easy-to-use blockchain?
The ELROND team – founded by Beniamin Mincu together with his brother Lucian Mincu and a well-known Romanian tech entrepreneur Lucian Todea (founder of Soft32, investor/partner at MobilPay and investor in other well-known startups such as TyingDNA or SmartBill) – claims that they have already built a product 1,000 times more efficient in terms of processing capacity, speed and cost, and this is soon about to launch.
“The internet had two important inflection points for growth: the move from text to graphics through browsers like Mosaic and Netscape, and later the move from dial-up to broadband. Elrond will bring the same improvements in simplicity and performance to the blockchain space, enabling a new wave of growth.”
Beniamin Mincu, founder, ELROND
What this means, is that their blockchain which is fueled by a native cryptocurrency called ELROND, has the capacity to process over 10,000 transactions per second. Meanwhile BITCOIN can currently process roughly 5-7 transactions per second (with a current average of 4.6) and ETHEREUM can process roughly 15 transactions per second (TPS).
„If the dominant technology can only process 7 or 15 transactions per second, and is valued at tens or hundreds of billions of dollars, that suggests the technology is very promising but is still in infancy. With Elrond we’ve built a better solution that is going to dramatically increase performance.”
Beniamin Mincu, ELROND
But the team led by Mincu simultaneously runs a second ambitious project, on route to launch soon, and bring an interface so easy to use, that it could democratize the use of blockchain and propel it to mainstream adoption.
„It will be so simple and intuitive that even our parents will be able to enjoy the benefits of blockchain. Just as the average user does not know that when he sends an email, he uses the SMTP protocol, so will he soon be able to send money globally, without realizing that he operates via blockchain,” explains the founder.
A 1,000 times more scalable blockchain and a simple user interface could bring this technology to mass use, and they make for good ingredients for a potentially historic moment for technology.
Beniamin Mincu and his team say they are very close to launching this revolutionary ecosystem.
Perhaps fittingly, the starting point for this technology is called “The Genesis”, which refers to the specific point in time when the interface will connect and work seamlessly with the new super-scalable blockchain, ushering the beginning of a new blockchain era.
Sounds big? That’s because, potentially, it just might be.
Where might the biggest potential impact be?
„We’ve built the foundation on which we’ll build the maximally efficient and useful version of money. And what we mean by this is that we’ll finally have a currency that can be transferred globally, in an instant, and at a negligible cost”, explains Mincu.
What is the next milestone for the Transylvanian startup?
„We’ve done some very important security and financial audits right now with a few companies that have done security audits for Apple, NASA, Facebook and DARPA. We are testing the final versions that need to go out in order for us to be able to launch The Genesis. This is the moment we’ll also come out with a surprise user interface that we have not disclosed so far. We’re really excited about that!”
The story of ELROND sounds interesting – but as we all know, the last few years have been full of so-called “PR bullshit” in the tech industry. So we checked further, as deep as possible.
Is ELROND strong enough?
To say that you have the ability to build a blockchain sufficiently scalable for today’s internet, is not an easy task. That’s why we tried to find out how solid the ELROND position is.
Here are some key findings:
- OPEN-SOURCE – The claims the team makes can be verified. The Elrond code is open-source and can be checked on GitHub. There is also a scientific paper detailing the ELROND architecture design, available, in full, online – here.
- FINANCING – In terms of financing, ELROND has secured a $1.9 million initial financing round closed in June 2019, which included Binance Labs, Electric Capital, NGC Partners, Maven 11, Woodstock, and contributions from investors across Asia and Europe, including the UK, India and Israel, and a second round of $3.25 million closed via a Binance initial exchange offering
Binance is the largest crypto-exchange in the world and they have invested in ELROND, through Binance Labs.
- TRADING – ELROND is listed on Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world – HERE.
- SECURITY – ELROND has gone through several security audits performed by Trail Of Bits, which has a history of big shot customers like Apple, NASA, Facebook or Darpa.
- ECONOMICS – The model proposed by the ELROND ecosystem was reviewed by PRYSM, a specialized consulting company founded by a group of economists from Harvard and Stanford.
PARTNERSHIPS – ELROND has a rapidly growing ecosystem, exploring collaborations on various blockchain use cases with companies such as Samsung, Runtime Verification, Chainlink, and another 20+ others.
- PEOPLE – The ELROND team has gathered a resourceful group of entrepreneurs, engineers and researchers, or as Beniamin puts it: “we have built a team with which we can build rockets, and this is not a figure of speech.”
- Beniamin Mincu – Founder & CEO: tech visionary and one of the blockchain pioneers in Romania, involved since 2014 in the NEM.io core team, and investor in several well known blockchain startups like Binance, BAT and Tezos via MetaChain Capital which he founded with his brother.
- Lucian Todea – Co-founder & COO: well known tech entrepreneur, founder of Soft32, partner at MobilPay, and co-investor in other well-known startups such as TyingDNA or SmartBill.
- Lucian Mincu – Co-Founder & CIO: self-taught tech whiz kid and resourceful engineer, active in several German startups including Uhrenwerk 24, Cetto, and Liebl Systems, then joined his brother, Beniamin, in co-founding MetaChain Capital, and eventually ELROND.
- Adrian Dobriță –Head of Engineering: formerly engineer at Intel, Olympiad in Artificial Intelligence, Master in Computer Science
- Radu Chiș – Head of Technology: previously at engineer at NTT Data, Olympiad in Math, PhD in Computer Science
- Robert Sasu – Core Developer: ex-Continental, Google, Olympiad in Math and Computer Science, Master Computer Science & VR
- Sebastian Marian – Core Developer: previously engineer at Compa, Winner of 3rd place globally in RoboCup AI competition (3 times winner), Bachelor in Computer Science
- Iulian Pascalau – Core Developer: previously engineer at Compa, Olympiad in Physics, Math and CS, Bachelor in Computer Science
- Corcoveanu Cristian – Core Developer: previously full stack developer at NTT Data, Math Olympiad, Bachelor in Computer Science
- Andrei Marinică – Research engineer: ex-Microsoft engineer, Physics & Math Olympiad, PhD student in Artificial Intelligence
- Camil Băncioiu – Research engineer: Physics & Computer Science Olympiad, PhD student in Artificial Intelligence
- Andrei Bancioiu – Research engineer: ex-engineer IQuest, Olympiad Math and Computer Science, PhD student Machine Learning
>> EXCLUSIVE Interview and Documentary <<
„The Future of Blockchain. Made in Transylvania”
Last but not least, you can check an in-depth interview with the ELROND founder Beniamin Mincu, taken by UPGRADE 100’s founder Dragoș Stanca + a documentary made by our team in Sibiu, Romania.
We tried to tick all the boxes: what is the breakthrough ELROND has achieved, what changes will it trigger, what is the vision of the founders for the future, what will the impact of the launch be, what are the risks and perils that the investors run and, especially, how close are we to using blockchain just like we are using the internet.
Here’s the result:
Is the future of highly scalable blockchains written in Romania? We’ll see. Until then, one thing is certain: in Sibiu, southern Transylvania, an enthusiastic team works day and night to build their dream – a new blockchain that will massively impact tomorrow’s world.