Canadian-founded Staging Labs acquired by Merkle Science

Staging Labs uses real-time tech to detect and block malicious crypto transactions.

Staging Labs, a Miami-based Web3 cybersecurity startup founded by a Canadian duo, has been acquired by New York-based Web3 risk and intelligence platform Merkle Science for an undisclosed amount.

As part of the deal, Staging Labs will incorporate its team under Merkle Science. The deal is intended to help Merkle Science expand its presence in the United States and Canada and broaden its range of products.

Staging Labs was launched in 2022 by Jake Harwood and François Le Nguyen. The latter is a serial entrepreneur who was himself the victim of a crypto scam that set him back $10,000. The startup aims to be the “ultimate line of defense for crypto” by using real-time technology and an automated response system to proactively identify and block malicious and non-compliant crypto transactions.

The startup claims its initial product, called Saferoot, can identify suspicious transactions in crypto wallets and automatically transfer digital assets from a wallet that it describes as a “backup safe.” 

While headquartered in the United States, Staging Labs has a Toronto office, and the startup is a graduate of the University of Toronto-based Creative Destruction Lab (CDL). The startup’s investors include Mistral Venture Partners, Flourish Ventures, and NGC Ventures, as well as angel-operators and crypto founders from ConsenSys, Coinbase, and Quicknode. Merkle Science has also been an investor in the startup, participating in the startup’s pre-seed funding round in October 2022.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the team from Merkle Science and bringing Staging Labs’ expertise in real-time technology to work with their attributions team and enhance cross-chain capabilities,” Jake Harwood, co-founder and CTO of Staging Labs, said in a statement.

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Merkle Science, founded in 2018 and also a CDL graduate, provides blockchain transaction monitoring and intelligence solutions for cryptocurrency companies, financial institutions, and government agencies to detect, investigate, and prevent the illicit use of cryptocurrencies. 

In a statement, Merkle said the deal will bolster its forensics and compliance capabilities, facilitating the proactive identification of illicit actors on Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) chains, which host all Ethereum accounts and smart contracts, as well as on the decentralized blockchain platform Tron.

“The integration of Staging Labs’ real-time mitigation expertise with our predictive analytics will create a powerful, comprehensive security suite for our clients,” Mriganka Pattnaik, CEO of Merkle Science, said in the statement. “This acquisition aligns perfectly with our mission to foster trust in the crypto industry and support our partners in maintaining a safe and compliant ecosystem.”

Feature image courtesy of Unsplash. Photo by Art Rachen.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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