About Tonk

What's the mission?

Tonk exists to liberate the web. We do so by creating better trust infrastructure, uniquely enabled by advanced decentralisation technologies.

You can think of "trust infrastructure" as the tools we use as individuals, institutions and intelligences to cultivate trust, so that we may coordinate towards our mutual flourishing.

You can think of "advanced decentralisation technologies" as the growing bucket of cryptographic & game-theoretic innovations that enable rich peer-to-peer communication, such as signatures, PKI, zero-knowledge proofs and blockchains.

What's wrong with today's trust infrastructure?

Tonk was borne of exasperation at the state of the world and the web. The internet connected us and AI filled our news feeds, but we haven't achieved meaningful communication at scale. Instead, we exist in a noisy "Eternal September", mediated by technofeudal lords that extract fees and imprison us within walled gardens. These fiefdoms constrain our ability to express ourselves and listen to each other.

What's the solution?

Thanks to powerful new cryptography, we can sweep all that aside and (among other new powers) forge authoritative peer-to-peer attestations that are cheaper and more expressive than centralised alternatives. These attestations are rare today, but are key to meaningful communication that scales with the internet. This new pattern for communication has widespread ramifications for media, finance, commerce and our social lives.

Who needs it?

In the short run, this pattern will facilitate new experiences that were impossible before, such as hyperproductive, high-context social spaces, cheaper onboarding, and programmatic micro-oracles for expressive blockchain smart contracts.

Who else?

In the long run, the application-attestation flywheel will create new markets and a standard for web communication that is interoperable, expressive, cheap, private and self-sovereign. Eventually this will cannibalise existing trust infrastructure and make problems like fake news, data siloes and platform taxes look like a cringe 2010s fad.

What progress have you made?

Our flagship product is Speakeasy, a tool that uses peer-to-peer attestations to help communities grow. Speakeasy filters group members into private wikis so that authentic connections thrive. Advanced cryptography lets us privately filter on any web data without relying on external platforms.

Speakeasy is already in private beta with select design partners. You can apply to join the beta here.

Who's behind it?

We're a team of ambitious engineers, designers and schemers that straddle the dynamic space between code and media theory. Some of the work we're responsible for includes the Gribi SDK, Dappicom, Tonk Attack, Snarky Monsters, the Privacy Playgrounds Wiki and much else besides. Most work (but not all) is documented at our blog. Others cover it too.

Between stints as dancers, poets and graphic novellists, members of the team have completed sidequests at Epic Games, Yahoo, Airbnb and the University of Cambridge. At various times we have enjoyed collaborations with Aztec, Scroll, Polygon and Ethereum PSE.

Baz is generally happy to speak.

Who's supporting this?

Tonk Labs is backed by some of the world's best investors, cryptographers and entrepreneurs. Our latest financing was led by Electric Capital, with participation from Bankless Ventures, Entrepreneur First and a community of angels with representation from leaders at Eigen Labs, Axelar, Succinct, Aleo, Polygon, Magic Eden, Ledger, Gensyn, Voltz & many more amazing projects.

Are you hiring?

Yes! For now, we're a London-based team and prioritise in-person relationships. You can see open roles here.