Posts from crypto

The Selloff

The stock and crypto markets have started off the year in selloff mode, with the Nasdaq down almost 5% this week and the big crypto assets down almost 10% this week. But this selloff has been going on for a lot longer than one week. It has been going on since early November when the Nasdaq peaked at $16k and BTC hit $67k. Since then it’s been downhill and the biggest carnage has been in the highflying “cloud” stocks. The Gotham Gal and I own a few stocks that have been cut in half in the last two months. Yes, they lost half of their value in the last two months.

Of course, these highflying stocks have only given up some of their gains over the last two years. In the case of a few of our public stock holdings, they went up 10x in the last two years and are now “only” up 5x. Easy come, easy go.

Even at these new “discount” prices, none of these stocks look cheap to me. Most are still trading well in excess of 10x revenues which has always been my baseline for a subscription-based software business. I don’t know where they will bottom out, but it certainly could be lower. Or the sector could have already bottomed out in this first week of 2022 blowout sale. One never knows where the bottom is until you are well on your way back up.

The capital markets have been awash in money for the entire pandemic and it has resulted in some crazy prices being paid for public stocks and for growth rounds in high-performing privately held companies. The optimist in me sees this selloff as a return to normalcy, in the capital markets and in the world we live in. It’s hard to see a return to normalcy when offices remain closed, events are being postponed or moving to virtual. But markets tend to see things first and I do wonder if the capital markets are coming back to earth in anticipation of things getting better this year.

It also makes me wonder if the “pay any price” mentality in venture may ease up a bit this year. When the IPO markets or the M&A markets can’t/won’t be able to pay more for a business than the private markets are paying, that’s unsustainable. It can last a few quarters, maybe even a year. It can’t last forever. We will see.

#crypto#stocks#VC & Technology

What Is Going To Happen In 2022

So last year I made a bunch of predictions that with one exception were kind of obvious. I don’t want to do that again, so I am going to list five things that I think will happen this year that most people would not likely agree with.

1/ As the pandemic evolves into an endemic in the first half of 2022, companies will reopen their offices and their employees will largely opt to go back to working together in offices.

I qualified this with “largely” because I don’t think we will go back to everyone in the office again. Companies have become much more comfortable hiring remote employees who don’t live near a company office. Employees have made it clear that they want/need the flexibility to work from home a day or two a week. Some companies have moved to an entirely remote work environment. But I think the dominant form of working will return to “in office, with others” by the end of this year.

2/ Carbon offsets, effectively a voluntary form of self carbon taxation, will take off in 2022 and by the end of the year, we will have a global market in excess of $10bn (up ~10x in 2022).

I think the big unlock will be bridging between the existing carbon offset market and the crypto markets where decentralized finance tools can bring massive innovation and demand to this market very quickly.

3/ K12 systems around the US (and around the world) faced with teacher shortages and desperate to erase several years of learning shortfalls, will increasingly adopt online learning services in the school building in lieu of and in addition to in-class learning.

This may be obvious. I don’t really know. But there are many forms of learning that work in addition and in compliment to teacher-led classes and school leaders will need to be open to using them aggressively to turn around several years of learning losses.

4/ Twitter opens up its APIs and allows anyone to operate Twitter clients that compete with its own.

Now I am going out on a limb. But why not? That would be so amazing if it happened.

5/ As I predicted back in the spring of 2017 [8:30 into this video], only five years too soon, Ethereum’s market cap will surpass Bitcoin’s in 2022. I hope I get at least as much abuse for this prediction as I did for that one.

Ethereum’s merge in 2022, combined with the understanding that productive assets must be worth more than non-productive assets, make this a fairly obvious prediction. But I got it wrong last time, so I surely can get it wrong again.

I hope that 2022 brings us more positive surprises and less negative surprises than the last two years.

Happy 2022 everyone!

#climate crisis#crypto#hacking education#VC & Technology

Founder Led Companies

I remember about fifteen years ago, a well-known VC said to me “you need to sell a company within a few years of the founder leaving. Companies can’t sustain their innovation after a founder leaves.” I told that VC that my experience has been different on that measure and that I did not agree.

I have seen leadership teams take over great businesses from founders and get them to the next level. Etsy, where I am Chair of the Board and a large shareholder, is a great example of that. There are many others in my career as well.

However, there is a special something that founders provide companies. I’ve heard it called “moral leadership.” I’ve heard it called “the soul of the business.” I’ve heard it called “long-term thinking.”

This podcast with Brian Armstrong, founder and CEO of Coinbase, another public company where I am on the Board and a large shareholder, is a good example of that.

If you are into crypto or a Coinbase shareholder, you might want to watch the entire one hour and forty minutes of this video.

But if you want to see what I am talking about with founder-led businesses, there are a few conversations in this podcast I would direct you to. They are:

  • 25:48 The Drive and Vision
  • 29:36 The Future of Coinbase
  • 47:30 Public Goods & Decentralization
  • 51:39 Eating All the Banks
  • 1:32:12 Maturing and Growing

#crypto#entrepreneurship#management

Buying Crypto Assets

A number of friends have been asking us how to buy crypto assets. This is not the first time we’ve gotten this question and it won’t be the last.

When I first started getting this question, my answer was “open a Coinbase account and buy Bitcoin.”

Then there was a period when my answer was “open a Coinbase account and buy Bitcoin and Ethereum.”

Today, my answer is “open a Coinbase account and buy a diverse set of crypto assets.”

A diverse set of crypto assets would include Bitcoin, Ethereum, the other major layer one blockchains (Solana, Flow, Avalanche, Polkadot, Algorand, etc), the major Defi protocols (Uniswap, Aave, Compound, etc), storage protocols (Filecoin, Arweave, etc), telecommunications protocols (like Helium), some layer two protocols (like Stacks, Polygon, etc), some gaming assets (like Axie, Decentraland, etc), a maybe some NFTs.

That last paragraph is not meant to be specific. It is meant to be illustrative. And that list contains assets that I own and USV owns as well as many assets that I and USV do not own. I am not recommending any specific assets here. I am recommending a diverse portfolio and those are some good examples of what might be in one.

I do not believe the web3/crypto opportunity can be captured by simply holding Bitcoin and Ethereum anymore. You must own a broader set of assets because the market is expanding beyond the OGs now and you need to be exposed to more of it.

I believe there will be index funds that can do this for you someday. But today your options are limited unless you have the wealth and access to the premier token funds and that is hard to achieve.

Finally, I have no idea where we are in this bull cycle we are in (that is leading to so many people asking us this question right now), so I would be conservative and dollar cost into crypto. If you want to put $10,000 into crypto, I would put $1,000 a month each month for the next ten months, for example. It is hard to be patient like that when prices are rising so fast, but they can fall even faster so it is best to be careful and conservative with an asset class like this.

Finally, these are very long-term investments. If you want to buy crypto assets, you should think of them as a ten-year buy-and-hold portfolio (or longer). That will help you make better decisions as you invest in this exciting new asset class.

I wrote this mostly to send to friends who ask but figured I’d share it with everyone else too. Good luck, be careful, be patient, and have a long-term view when investing in high-risk assets.

#crypto#Web3

The Metaverse

I’ve been hearing the term Metaverse for at least twenty years and I have always struggled with it. As I told my colleagues last week “I like the real world, I don’t want to live in a video game.”

My colleagues explained to me that I am thinking about it incorrectly. They said that as digitally mediated experiences have become a more important part of our everyday lives, we are already living in the metaverse.

I’ve started thinking about it that way and it has helped me to be more enthusiastic about these digitally mediated experiences.

I read this tweet stream yesterday and I found it very helpful in this new understanding I am developing.

But then I was passing by the Bright Moments NFT Gallery in Soho yesterday and there was literally a line around the block to get into the Bored Apes Yacht Club event. It seemed like there were thousands of Bored Apes NFT owners standing in line for hours to be able to hang out together in person. I texted my colleagues “I guess this metaverse thing is overrated”.

That’s mostly me amusing myself.

But it does suggest to me that hanging out together online is still not quite as much fun as hanging out together in person.

#AR/VR#crypto#NYC

Web3 vs Web2

Now that we are beginning to see what consumer applications are like in the decentralized web (web3), it is interesting to compare that to what consumer applications are like in the centralized web (web2).

It became clear early in the 2000s that the big opportunity in the web would be to build large networks of engaged users. That was USV’s initial web2 thesis:

And the way many/most of those networks were built was by delivering single user utility day-one and then building out network effects around that utility.

Chris Dixon called that “come for the tools, stay for the network” in this blog post.

We are seeing a different go-to-market action in web3.

Most consumers start with the token/asset and go from there. Initially, it was Bitcoin and you’d store it at Coinbase. Then it was Ethereum and you’d stake it. Then it was a Cryptokitty and you’d sire it. Then it was a TopShot and you’d collect it and trade it. Then it was a CryptoPunk and you’d make it your Twitter avatar. Then it was an Axie token and you’d use it to play Axie Infinity. I could go on and on but you get the idea.

And what is most interesting to me is that these assets that you start with don’t need to stay in the networks you first use them in. You can move your Bitcoin to your ledger wallet. You can pool your Ethereum on Uniswap. You can list your CryptoPunk on OpenSea. You can use your Axie token to buy a car.

Which leads me to believe that the go-to-market action in web3 is:

Come for the assets, stay for the experience.

I shared that on twitter yesterday and putting it here today.

#crypto

The Mainstreaming Of Crypto

We started looking at crypto ten years ago, starting investing nine years ago, and have had a front-row seat to its development ever since. It has been enlightening, exciting, rewarding, but definitely not mainstream.

I think that is changing quickly now and yesterday I saw this tweet:

Though I am on the board of Coinbase, I had not been aware of this partnership until I saw the tweet. Seeing it made my day. Two of my favorite brands in the world are teaming up to educate and increase the awareness of crypto around the world.

That’s going mainstream right there.

#crypto

Working Multiple Jobs

Since 2016, I have been working “half time” at USV and taking half of a partner’s carry. That has allowed me to allocate more time to things like building green buildings with the Gotham Gal, building a philanthropic organization with the Gotham Gal, sitting on non-profit and civic boards, and a few other things.

The truth is I still work at least 40 hours a week at USV, probably a fair bit more some weeks, but I still have time to spend on these other things and my partners understand that I am doing that and my compensation reflects that.

The move away from commuting to the office, spending eight hours a day or more there, and the rise of working remotely has upended so much in the last 18 months and one of the things I am noticing is how many people are doing what I am doing – working multiple jobs at the same time.

I am not talking about freelancing, consulting, and the other forms of working for many clients. I am talking about holding down multiple full-time jobs at the same time. Early in the pandemic, there was a story about a software engineer that had full-time jobs at both Google and Facebook. It was somewhat amusing to read that Google and Facebook were being played like that, but the truth is this is happening all over the place.

In some cases, like mine, the employer(s) know about the arrangement and the compensation reflects it. In most cases, the situation is not transparent for everyone. And that is a problem because eventually, most things become public.

Employers are going to need to wrap their heads around this situation and create plans that allow this. I suspect the reason many employees are not transparent about what they are doing is that their employers won’t allow it. So they do it anyway and keep it under wraps.

Employers are probably reading this and saying “But I need 100% of their time. I can’t allow them to give me only half of their time.” But here is the thing. They are already only giving you half of their time.

I can tell you that being able to work on many different things at the same time makes me better at every one of those things. I have always had that situation in the VC business. I get to work with dozens of companies at the same time. But now I get to work on all of them and also different problems in different industries. It keeps me energized, motivated, curious, and excited. And productive as hell.

I think it is high time for employers to understand that some of their employees, often their best employees, need to work this way and will be happier working this way. The employers that lead on this issue will become the places the best people want to work. And they will be more productive and more successful.

We already have a model emerging where this happens. The most common form of organization in crypto is the DAO and most DAOs have this model of part-time work and compensation that reflects the contribution. I know of many people who work for multiple DAOs, get paid by multiple DAOs, and where all of this is out in the open and transparent to everyone.

I am certain that the model of employees working for multiple companies at the same time is here to stay and will grow over time. The only question for employers is whether they will lead or follow in this new model of work.

#crypto#employment#enterprise

Tracking Crypto For Taxes

For the last ten years, my tax prep on crypto was pretty easy. I have always had a buy and hold mindset and have custodied with Coinbase. So a simple report on Coinbase was all I needed to send to my tax folks. Pretty simple.

But as DeFi and NFTs have exploded on the scene, things have gotten more complicated. Swapping, bridging, staking, buying with ETH, SOL, FLOW, yield farming, liquidity mining. Across chains. On hardware wallets. On mobile wallets. It is giving me a headache just typing all of this into my browser.

So I’m on the hunt for the very best cross wallet/cross chain tax prep software for crypto. I am not seeking to invest in this sector, although I have friends who are. What I am seeking is suggestions from all of you. What do you use to deal with his headache?

If you have suggestions, please click on the link that says “Discuss on Twitter” and leave your suggestions there so everyone can see them. If you must email me, that’s fine too. I appreciate suggestions however you can send them. But I prefer Twitter because everyone will be able to see them.

#crypto

Dapper Collectives

Our portfolio company Dapper Labs, creator of CryptoKitties, the Flow Blockchain, and the NBA Top Shot collectible game, is announcing Dapper Collectives today.

Dapper Collectives comes by way of an acquisition of Brud, a company that has been developing “community-owned media and collectively built worlds” for the last five years. Dapper Collectives will be led by Trevor McFedries, the founder and CEO of Brud and the co-founder of the FWB DAO. Trevor is also an LP at USV.

Dapper Collectives has a mission to “bring decentralized organizations (“DAOs”) to the mainstream”. The initial efforts of Dapper Collectives will include:

  • Bring community ownership and collective building to Dapper Labs products –– starting with Lil Miquela and her 10 million fans;
  • Build and release open source tools to help other mainstream communities engage in decentralized ownership and governance on Flow blockchain;
  • Help the most forward-thinking “web 2” companies decentralize their operations, engaging at the CEO and Board of Directors level to assist in tokenomics as well as technical implementation.

DAOs are quickly becoming the preferred organizing model for crypto projects, community efforts, and investing activities in Web3 and Dapper Collectives will energize these activities on the Flow blockchain.

#crypto#Web3