Why gCC co-led the 2.5M investment into Web3 Firewall

Web3 Firewall

Web3 Firewall is a startup that seeks to dramatically improve the cybersecurity of Web3 by applying modern Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques to the cybersecurity domain.

Founder Origin Story

The Founder/CEO of Web3 Firewall, Samer Fayssal has had a lifelong fascination with criminal justice and investigation.

Growing up with his family in Lebanon, when he was only 8 years old, his father, a criminal forensic psychologist, came home one day with a story about a ghastly killing that took place in a woman’s kitchen. She had violently stabbed someone in her own kitchen using a kitchen knife. He learned about this from his father, who was a criminal forensic psychologist.

Obviously being exposed to such a story at a young age would have a profound effect on a young man, and he couldn’t stop thinking about this. He turned to his father to understand more about how justice would be found and how some sense could be made of this horrible event. It turned out that this was a complex case and his father’s investigation had initially drawn a line of defense that a person could claim self-defense, especially since this woman may have been attacked in her own home by a stranger.

The problem was that she stabbed the person multiple times–which under that legal framework suggests criminal intent. The first stab could have been positioned as self defense, but multiple stab wounds cased her legal defense to fail.

This early incident spawned a lifelong and burning fascination with criminal justice and a desire to improve the world by providing stronger defenses.

Further Career

Samer went on to PhD focused on AI applications in Cybersecurity from the University of Arizona, and a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from California State University in addition to security executive and leadership education at Stanford University. He has had over 22 years of technical leadership, scientific research, software development, and teaching experience resulted in building 9 security programs, 3 certified USPTO patents, 14 IEEE/ACM research papers, a book, and many other publications. Expert knowledge in regulatory requirements for a world class Information Security program including SOC-2, NIST-800, FFIEC, GLBA, CCPA, SOX, H-TRUST. Expert knowledge in Cyber Security including Artificial Intelligence Security applications using traditional Machine Learning and Deep Learning. Cloud Security, Wireless Network Security, Web Application Security and Object Oriented Software Development. He has built security engineering solutions for Digital asset custody, Managed service providers, FinTech, Wireless systems. Samer is also a security researcher and the discoverer of the Magic link vulnerability that saved the industry millions of dollars in possible losses.

As Chief Information Security Officer and head of security at BitGo, Dr Fayssal was Interviewed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) the US regulator responsible for the banking system and approved as a solid CISO for a national bank. He was responsible for application, network & infrastructure, and offensive (red team) security practices, as well as R&D/planning of technology operations as part of managing $60B of digital assets under custody. He most recently served as CISO at Dfns, an MPC secure wallet solution that raised $13.5M in 2022, before founding Web3 Firewall with Matt Hardy and Gavin Kip.


Although this post centers the experience, leadership and character of founder/CEO Dr Fayssal, his cofounders are also world-class and have tremendous academic and industry achievement.

Matt Hardy has 20 years experience in various engineering and customer roles and studied computer science and mathematics at Harvard. He overlapped with Samer at BitGo where he was worked in solutions engineering, eventually advancing to head up the group. 

Gavin Kip has 20 years experience in engineering and product and holds a masters in electrical engineering from UCLA and an MBA from UC Berkeley.  He overlapped at BitGo as well where he was a Sr. product manager for almost 3 years.

These cofounders hail from some of the best academic institutions in the world, and all met together working at BitGo, a reknowned digital asset trust and security company. Although this piece centers Dr. Fayssal, each of these cofounders deserves their own detailed biography as their academic and industry achievements are world-class.

Real-time protection on and off chain  

Web3 Firewall is building a suite of security and compliance products for businesses, institutions, retail users, and protocols to protect from fraud and cybersecurity risks. 

At the heart of all products lies the intelligence engine, which utilizes adaptive AI to label data and determine confidence levels in its classifications. Subsequently, the data undergoes training procedures such as abnormality analysis to pinpoint risks. Customers have the option to augment data to suit their specific requirements, thereby improving the AI model.

Labeled data is used to create policies tailored to each customer’s needs, which are enforced by a compliance engine; these policies determine transaction acceptance/rejection. Customers can apply policies via an API, in wallet environments, or in-contract via a firewall product.


We have developed very extensive thesis in the area of Web3 cybersecurity, as we are, as an industry painfully aware of how Kerkhoff’s principle–that open systems eventually become more secure than closed systems– has some security externalities. We know that many billions of dollars are hacked and removed from productive use from the world’s decentralized financial infrastructure by criminal hackers including state actors like North Korea. In open source development, the adversary can often see security vulnerabilities directly in the source code repository at the same time as core developers.

While the immutable nature of blockchains is a valuable feature in many cases, most would agree that the censoring of certain transactions – like protocol exploits or those involving known bad actors (e.g. OFAC entities) – would be beneficial to the space and necessary for further institutional involvement. But in practice, the challenge lies in identifying these threats in real-time and implementing effective protection measures against them.

We’ve now moved into a stage where Artificial Intelligence has become sufficiently sophisticated that it can be used in cybersecurity. Unfortunately there are many startups claiming to have authority and expertise in both blockchain cybersecurity and AI–but this company is not one of these pretenders. We conducted significant diligence on the background and expertise of this team alongside our coinvestor, Laser Digital, a subsidiary of financial giant Nomura group, and Dr. Jez Mohideen, the CEO and cofounder of Laser Digital, himself personally attested to the integrity and validity of the clustering and detection mechanisms proposed by Dr. Fayssal.


As more significant financial institutions like Blackrock, Fidelity, Nomura and many other make their foray into Web3, they will need to find trusted partners who can help to secure their digital assets. We can think of no better team that this one to meet these challenges.

Information is provided for general educational purposes only. This presentation is not an offer to sell securities or a solicitation of offers to buy securities. Nothing contained herein constitutes investment or other advice nor is it to be relied on in making an investment decision. For more important information, please see disclaimer

Author: Miko Matsumura