Facebook parent company Meta’s ill-fated digital payments project Libra, later renamed Diem, which famously struggled – largely down to the fact that it failed appease regulators’ and politicians’ concerns over the social media giant’s crypto plans.
Ultimately, the Meta-backed Diem Association, a consortium set up to oversee the project, sold off Diem’s intellectual property and other assets to Silvergate Bank in the beginning of 2022. The underlying blockchain and the stablecoin never publicly debuted, and Meta only managed to launch a pilot version of its digital wallet Novi.
But some of the team that worked on the Diem project and Novi weren’t going to accept failure. Several ex-Meta employees, including engineers, struck out on their own to build out the open source technology via other startups.
From the ashes of this project came a number of ex-Meta employees and engineers who still saw the potential in the project, going on to form Aptos Labs.
The startup has ambitious plans to build a new layer-1 blockchain that’s designed to be more secure and scalable, built with Diem’s open source technology and the Move coding language designed at Meta.
Aptos has had plenty backing in realising this vision, raised $200 million in funding from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Multicoin Capital, Katie Haun, and FTX Ventures, in a March strategic round – their valuation is currently reportedly between $1 billion and $2 billion.
Despite the optimism around the project, they’re attempting to launch their blockchain amid a biting crypto winter that’s had a formidable effect on the market.
This, compounded with the face that they were also hit with a $1 billion lawsuit against CEO Shaikh and the company in March.
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Shari Glazer (of the sports team owner empire the Glazer family) and her firm Swoon Capital allege she is the true “50/50” partner in the venture alongside Shaikh, and that she’s entitled to half the startup’s “founder’s shares” in equity, per the lawsuit.
Regardless of these setbacks, it’s clear that much of Aptos Labs’ determination stems from their frustrating experience failing to launch.
The big question is, of course: Can they succeed in launching yet another L1 in the space during a harrowing time, and will it be better than the other alternatives?