The first crypto asset most people purchase is Bitcoin. It has the highest market capitalization. It has way more search interest.
But Bitcoin is not all there is to the crypto sector. There is about $160bn of market value in the crypto sector outside of Bitcoin.
The “non-Bitcoin” portion of the crypto sector has risen over $100bn in 2020 and is up 2.7x this year.
Bitcoin is up about 2.2x in 2020.
What seems to happen is that individuals, and increasingly institutions, purchase Bitcoin to start their crypto portfolios and journeys, but over time they move some of their gains into other assets.
According to Coinbase, there are now 24 crypto assets with a market capitalization of greater than $1bn. I expect that list to expand greatly over this crypto bull run we are in that started this past spring.
We are starting to see sectors of the economy decentralize using blockchain technology, starting with the finance sector, naturally. This is a ten to twenty year trend that is just getting started. And owning crypto assets is the way to play that trend. Starting, but not ending, with Bitcoin.
These elected officials are correct that way too many people in the US are unbanked or underbanked. They are also correct that community banks and minority owned banks are closing at a rapid rate, which is contributing to these alarming unbanked and underbanked numbers.
However, I think that the OCC and, more importantly, the crypto industry, owe these elected officials an education on how crypto can address these important issues and why it is not a distraction from them.
In the letter, the members of congress mention “the immediate needs of millions of at-risk individuals who have not yet received an economic stimulus check and/or cannot deposit their funds in a bank.”
If the United States was developing (as is China), a digital currency stablecoin (a digital dollar), then those millions of at-risk individuals would have been able to receive their economic stimulus funds via any one of the popular mobile apps that support or will soon support digital assets, like Coinbase, Square, PayPal, Robinhood, and many more.
It would have been less expensive (by an order of magnitude or more) and much simpler to get funds to these at-risk individuals with blockchain based assets vs outdated technologies like paper checks.
I am not taking a swipe at these well-meaning elected officials. I am saying that the crypto sector needs to sit down with them and their staffs, pull out their phones, have them do the same, and send them some money. And then talk about regulations that will accelerate the adoption of these new technologies among the at-risk communities instead of what we have now which are regulations that are holding all of this progress back.
I was looking at the numbers on an early-stage VC fund that the Gotham Gal and I are invested in. I am not very familiar with the portfolio but this fund was formed in 2012. There are 24 names (investments) in the portfolio and 3 of them have produced 92% of the value in the fund.
This is more or less the pattern of every early-stage venture capital fund I have helped to manage and every early-stage venture capital fund I have invested in over the last thirty years. I believe it is a fundamental law of early-stage investing that a small number of investments will produce that vast majority of the returns.
But here is the thing. You may get your returns from a small number of names, but you cannot simply focus on them.
I liken it to a teacher and a class full of students.
There will always be the “star pupils” but the teacher’s job is to serve all of the students. The reward may be to watch the star pupils shine, but the job is not. The job is to serve all of the students equally, or possibly to help the students who are struggling more than the others.
That mindset has helped me navigate this challenging issue in the early stage venture capital business. The work is often in one place and the rewards in another.
Yesterday morning we got the news that Pfizer’s mRNA Covid vaccine developed in partnership with BioNTech saw 90% efficacy in phase three clinical trials. While this is terrific news, Wall Street saw it as bad news for companies that are doing well during this pandemic (Zoom, Peloton, e-commerce, etc).
This is a chart of Jim Cramer’s Covid 100 index:
Wall Street believes the end of the Covid pandemic is in sight and is rotating out of this group. I see that as terrific news, even though I am a large holder of a name or two in that index.
I cannot wait until I can start meeting entrepreneurs again in person. I cannot wait until USV can meet together in person. I cannot wait until I can see live music, movies, theater, etc, etc. These things cannot come soon enough for me.
But I also wonder how many of the habits we acquired during this pandemic (which is NOT over yet), will stick when we can go back to doing all of these things we long to do.
Here are some questions to ponder:
1/ Will our use of Zoom to meet decline materially when the pandemic is over?
2/ Will we get back on planes and resume our business travel like we did before the pandemic?
3/ Will we go back to the spin studio even though we learned to love a spin class on our Peloton?
4/ Will we rush back to stores and abandon our e-commerce habits?
5/ Will we all go back to the office five days a week?
I think the answer is yes to a degree, but almost certainly not totally. We have created new habits in this awful year and they are not going to go away so quickly, or ever.
I don’t know if that means the Covid 100 index is a buying opportunity or it needs to go down some more. I will leave that to Jim Cramer.
I do know that the way we work and live and entertain ourselves has changed materially and forever in this pandemic and things won’t be exactly the same when it is over.
Well, we don’t know who won the election this morning, but we know that the turnout was the strongest in 120 years at roughly 2/3 of eligible voters. We can thank mail-in votes and early voting for that. Some will take offense at the late counting of mail-in votes and claim fraud. I am not one of them.
I believe that massively opening up access to our elections by making voting by mail easy and trusted and by allowing voting to happen for weeks (or months) before election day is a good thing.
Regardless of how this election turns out, we can be optimistic about the path we are on to engage more Americans in the voting process.