“Margins on NFT drops are just insane, so people who were using bots to hunt money from sneakers switched to NFTs,” Crowther said, adding that successful purchases of limited-edition NFTs could sometimes offer margins of between 30% and 40% in the event of resale.
With brands from Gucci to Adidas releasing limited-edition NFTs, Crowther said he plans to use his new investment to combat the surge in malicious bot activity.
“Insanely Epic Announcement”
The funding round was led by new investor StepStone Group (which recently acquired venture capital platform Greenspring Associates), with participation from existing investors Ten Eleven Ventures, Main Sequence Ventures, the venture capital arm of Westpac Reinventure, Our Innovation Fund and Malcolm Turnbull’s investment firm Turnbull. & The partners.
Mr Crowther said he discovered his interest in ‘breaking systems’ at high school in Newcastle, NSW, where he was about to be expelled for hacking into sensitive school servers when he saw an advert of the Directorate of Defense Signals before watching a Impossible mission movie one afternoon.
“It was an incredibly epic announcement,” he said.
The rollout of Defense Signals Directorate advertisements was pushed by the then Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull, who wanted to find young technical talent and bring them into government.
Although Mr Crowther could not speak about the work he did there, he quickly discovered that his knack for ‘breaking things’ was also in high demand outside the Australian government.
For a time he worked for the head of security at Macquarie Bank.
“My mandate was just to crack any system in the bank to find the weaknesses,” he said.
It was here that Crowther received $50,000 in angel investment to build a bot-related prototype that would form the basis of Kasada, which has since raised a total of $39 million from investors including In-Q- Tel, the FBI-backed venture capital firm.
“It all comes down to the fact that someone can write a piece of code that performs tasks over and over and use it against us,” he says.