Yakoa raises $4.8 million to help detect NFT fraud for platforms and creators • TechCrunch
Yakoa, an NFT fraud detection startup, has raised $4.8 million to build tools to combat intellectual property fraud in the web3, the company told TechCrunch exclusively.
One of the most common attacks Yakoa sees is people making copies of NFTs and claiming them as their own work, said Andrew Dworschak, co-founder of the startup.
Yakoa provides tools and an indexer that detects copies or infringement probabilities on original NFTs, ranging from outright counterfeiting to partial or stylistic counterfeiting, which will then alert platforms, brands or creators of these fraudulent activities.
The funding round was led by Collab+Currency, Volt Capital and Brevan Howard Digital with participation from Data Community Fund, Alliance DAO, Uniswap Labs Ventures, Orange DAO, Time Zero Capital, gmjp, Sunset Ventures and FAST by GETTYLAB, as well as angel investors.
The capital will be used to expand the machine learning and data engineering teams internally, according to Graham Robinson, co-founder of Yakoa.
The platform identifies an NFT’s first existence across a variety of blockchains such as Ethereum, Solana, Avalanche, Polygon and more.
“In terms of blockchains, having every blockchain is on our roadmap,” Dworschak said. “Our belief is that it doesn’t matter where you create the IP or publish an address, what matters is that it’s publicly verifiable.”
Anyone can make “a quick buck off anyone,” Dworschak noted. “It’s very difficult to protect against these things because there are so many assets. In some cases [fraudsters are] photoshopping and cropping or changing colors, when they’re really using someone else’s IP.”
“When we do an attribution search, we try to find out where an asset might come from and provide as much information as we can,” Dworschak said. “Two assets can be similar and not fraudulent, and that’s totally appropriate. There are a lot of edge cases that we have to be aware of and others that come up in the same way, and some use cases we take on as a platform and give people the chance to register their opinion.”
“The whole ecosystem is open and we want to continue to make sure it stays that way,” Robinson said. “We’re trying to create the tools that industry can use, and they can use it in their environment.”
The name Yakoa came from the saying “A-OK,” but backwards, Dworschak said. “When you use the blockchain, you want to make sure it’s ‘A-OK,’ so that’s why we called it that.”
Today, the NFT market “has already shown a lot of potential,” Dworschak said. “It has created types of assets that are not tied to a specific platform, allowing creators to publish their assets and trade them freely across platforms. It’s a completely new way of trading, and it will spill over into what is unimaginable today. »
Long-term fraud protection will be something that can run in the backend of platforms, Robinson said. “There are a bunch of services that can start from this IP protection.”