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Decentralized Identity Startup Spruce Raises $7.5M

Decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have given decentralized identity a solid commercial use case that was previously lacking.

So say the founders of Spruce, an identity startup that just raised $7.5 million in a funding round led by Ethereal Ventures and Electric Capital.

The seed round, announced Tuesday, also included participation by Alameda Research, Coinbase Ventures, BITKRAFT, A. Capital Ventures, Protocol Labs and Gemini Frontier Fund.

The founders of Y Combinator-backed Spruce, Wayne Chang and Gregory Rocco, met at ConsenSys where they were working on economics and decentralized identity, and the team has clearly remained close to the Ethereum design studio.

“In combining identity and storage elegantly, they’re building user-centric, Web3-style tools for the decentralized future, enabling users to control their own data using permissionless infrastructure,” ConsenSys chief and Ethereal Ventures co-founder Joseph Lubin said in a statement.

Read more: Sign-In With Ethereum Is Coming

Spruce launched just over a year ago with two products: the SpruceID toolkit for decentralized identity and Kepler self-sovereign storage. The two systems work seamlessly together across blockchains to gate access via NFT ownership, for instance, or verify credentials for decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), said Chang.

“[Users] want liquidity providers and DeFi pools that have a track record of being good liquidity providers,” Chang said. “DAO governance is a really important one too. You want to know that people have something at stake either reputational or otherwise, so they are going to make the right decisions.”