OpenSea Ventures Among Backers for $7M Round for Crypto Security Startup

Web3 Builders Inc, a new smart contract and non-fungible token (NFT) security startup, raised $7 million in seed funding with backers that included Road Capital and the venture capital arm of NFT marketplace OpenSea. The funding will help build out the products, add new artificial intelligence and machine learning methods, and expand the team.

Alongside the funding, Web3 Builders announced TrustCheck, a free scam prevention tool for those transacting with cryptocurrencies, smart contracts and non-fungible tokens. The Chrome browser extension instantly analyzes the risk of a given crypto transaction by running checks against the company’s machine-learning engine.

TrustCheck uses data from over a dozen sources that cover tens of thousands of reported and validated scams, and hundreds of millions of addresses.

“When we think about the next billion users adopting crypto, you have to take these really powerful concepts, and these powerful engines under the hood, and create really simple and easy to understand user experiences,” Web3 Builders CEO Ricky Pellegrini told CoinDesk in an interview.

TrustCheck checks for scams programmatically, such as searching for wallet drainer template code, and with a team of humans to take a multi-layered approach. From a product demonstration provided to CoinDesk, the TrustCheck user interface should feel familiar to anyone who has used a Web2 antivirus product. If a user tries to buy an NFT from a trusted site, TrustCheck shows the checks the site passed and explains what the transaction will do. Visiting a known scam site will throw up an immediate warning page. Proceeding past the page will lead to another warning when the site attempts a fraudulent transaction to steal wallet contents.

“What’s become clear is that a lot of the time, the way most people are getting scammed is a direct message on Twitter or Discord that takes them to a phishing site that leads them to a wallet drainer,” explained Pellegrini. "It’s not necessarily these super high profile, massive scale network vulnerabilities.”

TrustCheck will start out as a free product for consumers but Web3 Builders plans to launch a business-to-business version that sites can integrate directly into their checkout or application.

Other investors in the round included Sparkle Ventures, Picus Capital, ACME, TTV, G20, Global Founders Capital and Haven Ventures.

“At its core, what we’re developing is a probabilistic risk model of blockchain transactions. The near term is very focused on helping users protect themselves from scams,” said Pellegrini. “But once you have that modeled out for each transaction that’s about to occur on the blockchain, there are a variety of business models and business lines that we can go into."

Read more: NFT Scams: How to Avoid Falling Victim

UPDATE (13:13 UTC): Removes Greylock from the list of investors.