Last week Recruit, the Japanese company that owns the Indeed and Glassdoor recruitment websites, announced an investment in Israeli blockchain privacy company Beam. In November in Singapore, Recruit set up a special purpose RSP Blockchain Fund of $25 million for investing in tokens as opposed to shares.
Recruit with a turnover of Yen 2.173 trillion ($19.76 billion) has an existing venture capital subsidiary, Recruit Strategic Partners (RSP). It has invested in high profile companies like trade finance unicorn TradeShift. RSP’s blockchain investments include payments company Veem, identity company ShoCard, and cryptocurrency exchange bitFlyer. Three weeks ago RSP funded blockchain rewards company Loyyal.
Beam is the first investment for the specialist RSP Blockchain Fund. According to a Collider Ventures tweet the figure was $5 million.
Beam is a confidential cryptocurrency, with some similarities to ZCash and Monero, though the founders doubtless resist such categorization. Beam’s protocol is an implementation of “Mimblewimble” based on a paper written under a pseudonym “Tom Elvis Jedusor” and released to the public in 2016. There was no ICO.
A Mimblewimble is a tongue-tying curse or spell from the Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery. Another cryptocurrency, Grin, is also based on Mimblewimble.
The company Beam was incorporated this past August, and the network is already live. Beam’s team isn’t packed with academics in comparison to other high profile Israeli blockchain startups like Starkware. CEO Alexander Zaidelson has a software, business and investment background. The company appears to outsource some of its development to a software house in Belarus.
The cryptocurrency aims to be business friendly with the ability to attach invoices or contracts. And there is also “opt-in auditability”.
On the technology side, unlike the ZCash cryptocurrency which is dependant on Zero-Knowledge Proofs, Beam’s technology uses pure elliptic-curve cryptography.
Part of Bitcoin’s negative reputation derives from using processor intensive and electricity-hungry Proof of Work as a defense mechanism. Other cryptocurrencies are using or exploring Proof of Stake as an alternative.
Instead, Beam is using a “memory hard” rather than CPU-intensive type of Proof of Work (PoW). Because of this, it claims to be mobile friendly and scalable. There is some debate in the crypto community about whether this is practically viable. For example, Ethereum’s PoW was designed to be memory hard.
Shortly after launch, the platform experienced some teething problems. A critical vulnerability was discovered and resolved. And at one point the network halted. Fortunately for Beam the last month has been comparatively uneventful on the tech side.
No Ledger Insights team members hold Beam currency.