Former Meta employees and key players behind the firm’s defunc stablecoin project Diem have raised $200 million to expand a new project dubbed “Aptos.”

Aptos was cofounded by former Novi — Meta’s crypto unit — strategic partnerships lead Mo Shaikh and tech lead Avery Ching. The duo arenow serving as the CEO and CTO for the new firm. Both left the company in December, prior to Diem being sold to Silvergate Capital in February this year.

The team is building a decentralized Layer 1 blockchain that is partly based on Move, the coding language initially developed for Diem. The company is now in the process of growing its developer ecosystem and attracting projects to the blockchain, which it touts will be a cheap, secure and scalable network.

According to a March 16 announcement, Aptos’ $200 million strategic funding round was led by capital venture giant Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), along with backing from top firms such as Three Arrows Capital, FTX Ventures, Paxos and Coinbase Ventures.

The funding will be used to hire new staff and to support “companies, brands and builders” who are looking to develop projects on the Aptos blockchain, with the startup teasing that several DeFi, NFT, Web3, social media and payments projects are already in the works.

Speaking with TechCrunch, Aptos refused to disclose a specific valuation but suggested that it is “well off into the unicorn territory” of around $1 billion.

Alongside the funding announcement, Aptos has also launched a public devnet with an open-source codebase. The team told the publication that big names…

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