Alexis Ohanian founded Reddit on June 23, 2005, along with his partner on the project, Steve Huffman. In 2012, Ohanian co-founded Initialize Capital, an early-stage VC firm, with his new partner, Garry Tan in 2012. In a recent interview with Fortune, Ohanian stated, “I’m most bullish about Ethereum simply because people are actually building on it.” He is now full-time at Initialize Capital, with over $250 million in assets under management.
Initialize Capital’s investments include Coinbase, Instacart, Zenefits, Opendoor, Soylent, Cruise Automation and Standard Cognition. It’s clear that Ohanian is bullish on the cryptocurrency industry in general, based on his investment in Coinbase. He said, “I still use Reddit to discover burgeoning trends. It’s a big part of why Initialized was the first check in Coinbase. You could see these trends popping on r/Bitcoin, for example. The early, organic communities served as really great focus groups.”
Besides publications like Cryptosumer that provide editorial analysis and context, Reddit is one of the most popular places to find and publish information about digital assets. According to The Merkle, the most popular cryptocurrency subreddits include: /r/bitcoin, /r/ethereum, /r/dogecoin, /r/cryptocurrency, /r/btc, /r/Litecoin, /r/bitcoinmarkets, /r/reddcoin and /r/ripple. In addition to these, there are subreddits for virtually every ICO and coin in existence. With inside access to all of these conversations, and deep analytical data on which pages are most popular on the platform, it’s telling not only that Ohanian is so bullish on Ethereum, but that he is also building a new data-driven investing platform.
Ohanian stepped away from his role at Reddit because he is looking to make a huge impact on the world, and sees right now as a time of innovation. In his view, the impact he can have by investing in dozens of companies far outweighs what he could have achieved had he continued to focus all of his energy on the single company, Reddit. He uses his experience and judgment to seek out relentless founders who have made the effort to test and market their ideas.
Ohanian believes that last year was all about AI and machine learning, and that this year, the focus will be on blockchain. He sifts through the hype to discover technology that will lead to Web 3.0 as the sorts of investments to engage in, and these include blockchain startups who understand the UX (User Experience) and business side of the model. He believes that we’re still in a low regulation environment in the US with regard to cryptocurrencies, though he sees fraudulent ICOs as undermining the industry as a whole.
Although Ohanian is most bullish about Ethereum, he still believes that Bitcoin will go to the moon, and is a HODLer. However he sees it as more of a store of value, where Ethereum has proven its usefulness on the utility side, where people are building thousands of projects on the platform. He estimates that Bitcoin will hit $20,000 again by the end of the year, and that Ethereum will catch up with a valuation of $15,000 at that time.