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BMW iVentures Invests in Vendia, a Developer of Distributed Data & Code-Sharing Platform Using Blockchain

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【Summary】​BMW iVentures, the venture capital arm of German automaker BMW that’s based in Silicon Valley, is investing $15 million in Vendia, a data and code-sharing platform that one day might be used for managing the massive amounts of data generated by connected and autonomous vehicles.

Eric Walz    Feb 04, 2021 4:00 PM PT
BMW iVentures Invests in Vendia, a Developer of Distributed Data & Code-Sharing Platform Using Blockchain

BMW iVentures, the venture capital arm of German automaker BMW that's based in Silicon Valley, is investing $15 million in Vendia, a data and code-sharing platform that one day might be used for managing the massive amounts of data generated by connected and autonomous vehicles.

The latest Series A funding round, The Series A round, which comes only six months after its initial $5.1M seed round led by Canvas Ventures with prior participation from BMW i Ventures, Sorenson Ventures, and Vendia's seed stage investors.

Vendia, which is based in San Francisco and Seattle, developed a serverless, distributed data and code-sharing platform that allows businesses to securely share data and code with partners. 

The company believes that data will become the "new currency" in the future, but only if there's a scalable and secure way to share it among parties. 

In the future, terabytes of data from connected and self-driving vehicles may be shared among millions of vehicles and continuously sent to and from the cloud for processing in real-time. 

What makes Vendia's platform unique is that it offers a way for corporations to share large amounts of data with precise and fine-tuned controls, while maintaining a single source of truth for the data across all parties, the company claims. Whereas traditional database technologies do not easily enable collaboration with different enterprise partners.

Before cloud computing became the norm, enterprise companies generally kept their data siloed in secure servers and inaccessible to third parties. However in the Internet of Things (IoT) era, the exchange of data across enterprise partners is critical to efficient, trustful collaboration between companies. 

According to research firm McKinsey, roughly 40% of companies today have formed or are planning to enter into data-sharing partnerships with third parties. But so far, there has been no easy way of securely sharing vast amounts of data at scale. Vendia's platform however is addressing this need.

According to Vendia, the complicated multi-cloud infrastructures used today along with the rising security requirements of different organizations make it difficult for companies to have a single source of trusted data that all parties can securely access. In addition, current solutions also do not guarantee that the data won't be inadvertently altered, which is critical to create a shared record of truth, Vendia says.

This can have significant negative business implications including lack of trust between the involved parties and a general distrust of the data itself, which can inhibit collaboration between parties, especially at times when data discrepancies arise.

In attempts to solve these issues, many companies, including automaker Volvo Cars have been exploring the use of private blockchains to keep track of the data exchanged among multiple third parties. 

Vendia Offers a Secure Cloud-based Blockchain Solution

While blockchain technology ensures the integrity of the data by using a decentralized architecture and keeping a digital ledger of each time the data is changed, its been challenging to make it scalable. 

The reason for this is that each time new data is added to a blockchain, multiple nodes on the network must verify the data. To perform this action, every node on the network must be notified and provided a copy that reflects the new changes to the blockchain, which can require a massive amount of processing power. 

This action is required each time data is exchanged, which amounts to terabytes and even petabytes of data being transferred that must be supported by computationally intensive algorithms. While blockchain technology is highly secure and supports the exchange of cryptocurrency, the architecture itself inhibits the ability to scale it. According to Vendia, building a scalable, distributed blockchain ledger has been impossible until now. 

To solve this challenging problem, Vendia combined two technologies, the security and immutability of distributed ledger technology and the scalability of centralized cloud computing. 

In a traditional blockchain architecture, a distributed network of nodes can be located anywhere and in different forms. Whereas the nodes in Vendia's blockchain architecture run entirely in the cloud and are managed by a neutral and secure cloud provider. 

These cloud-based nodes maintain a system of truth for the data in a decentralized way in the same way that traditional blockchain works, however each node in the Vendia architecture is powered by the cloud service provider. 

This cloud-based approach eliminates the scalability issues of traditional blockchain but also the trust issues that network participants might have regarding the state of the data because the nodes are controlled by a neutral, third-party cloud provider, according to Vendia. 

With Vendia's platform, corporations are able to trust in a secure, unified and immutable data source, which can help accelerate open collaboration between partners.

Vendia's technology can also be deployed on mobile and web apps for seamless collaboration that is also highly secure and decentralized, while maintaining data integrity at all times.

One day, BMW vehicles might use cloud-based blockchain technology to ensure that data can be securely transferred to and from the cloud, as well as being easily accessible to trusted third parties.

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