The founding team of counterparty announced that they are no longer working with Overstock on building Medici, the platform that Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne hopes will be a replacement for the existing stock market infrastructure involved central securities depositories and global custodians. Instead, the team has joined forces with another partner, Mark Smith, and are exploring bringing Counterparty’s technology to the securities market by starting their own firm, Symbiont.
The new firm, Symbiont, will use Counterparty and other blockchain technologies to accomplish its goals. The founders have identified several specific issues that they want to tackle in the broader securities industry. These haven’t been disclosed yet, however. The team has also raised significant interim funding, according to their announcement, and wish to follow it up with a formal Series A, which would help them raise more money from some of the top VCs in the Bitcoin space, who don’t really fund startups at the seed stage.
Notably, the founding team is working on some large scale improvements in the Counterparty protocol, including the addition of a Turing-complete language, which will help program smart contracts on the platform. Theoretically, anything that can be done on Ethereum can now be done on Counterparty as well, with the added benefit of being secured by the mining power of the Bitcoin blockchain. According to their announcement –
"Our choice comes as we wrap up large scale improvements to the Counterparty software suite, which has matured very rapidly (especially as of late). So far, over 180,000 Counterparty transactions have been made, often constituting a significant fraction of daily Bitcoin transactions. In addition, there have been three comprehensive security audits performed on the codebase. With the approaching release of the Turing Complete smart contracts system on mainnet, we are at the point where less work needs to be done on the core protocol and more on tools and services that make use of it. "
About the Counterparty Platform
Counterparty, one of the earliest contenders for the so called ‘Bitcoin 2.0′ technology, is a meta-protocol that sits on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, and is thus protected by the mining prowess of the Bitcoin network. The Counterparty tokens were created in a public and fair manner using a proof of burn address (Bitcoins sent to this address are not recoverable, as no known private key exists for that wallet address), to which anyone in the general public could send Bitcoins to receive Counterparty tokens. The founding team was tapped originally by Overstock to create their stock trading platform on the blockchain, but the partnership appears to have fallen apart.
Counterparty is also the preferred platform for new projects for pre-sale of their own tokens, to raise money (traditionally the crowdfunding model, but due to legal requirements, these are now called ‘software pre-sales’). Projects like Swarm, Gems, Storj, etc. use counterparty to issue their tokens. Even new projects, like Factom and Augur are going to use Counterparty to raise money through the presale of their tokens.