Andreessen Horowitz, commonly referred to as a16z, is a top venture capital firm that has just launched a $300 million “aggressive” cryptocurrency fund, as a bet on what it is calling the newest major computing model. According to the Wall Street Journal, this will be the only cryptocurrency fund run by a major VC firm.
In a Andreessen Horowitz blog post announcing the fund, and its new a16z general partner, Kathryn Haun, Chris Dixon said, “We believe we are still early on in the crypto movement… the infrastructure needs to be improved and the applications are difficult for non-early adopters to use.”
Dixon, also an a16z general partner acknowledged that the white paper for Bitcoin was published almost 10 years ago. However, he believes that the firm is still getting in at the right time, before the cryptocurrency industry fully matures. He believes that the technology is developing rapidly as new talent is attracted to blockchain technology and people continue to contribute to largely open-source code archives.
According to Dixon, a16z has been investing in digital assets for over five years, and has been holding onto its positions the entire time, with no plans to dump their coins despite the recent downturn. He even goes on to say that the company will aggressively buy the dip if there is another “crypto winter” as he puts it.
Prior to joining a16z, Katie Haun joined the board of Coinbase as an independent director, where she chairs its Audit and Risk Committee and HackerOne. As a mover and shaker in the industry, she made her bones as a federal prosecutor with the US Department of Justice, and took down the federal task force agents who profited from shutting down Silk Road. She has testified in front of both houses of Congress on technology regulations. She also teaches a class on cryptocurrency at Stanford’s GSB.
Haun’s experience is in prosecuting fraud, cybercrimes and corporate crimes while working in unison with the SEC, FBI and Treasury Department. With this experience, she may be a valuable asset to a16z in making sure that their future projects and investments will be compliant with current and expected future regulations.
When Haun left government service to teach at Stanford, she began investing in companies ranging from seed to Series C, including crypto companies Chia and Chain, which has just been acquired by Stellar. If the success of Chain, not to mention Coinbase is any indicator of the value that Haun brings to an organization, then we can expect good things to come out of the a16z fund. With $300 million at their disposal, they may invest in a number of different projects, knowing that some will fail, and some will succeed well beyond expectations.
VC firms are meeting behind the scenes on a daily basis, to discuss investments into crypto projects and assets. While a16z is arguably the largest and most notable fund, other VC firms are getting into crypto, too. These include FBG Capital, Fenbushi, HyperChain Capital, Blockchain Capital, InBlockChain, Kenetic Capital, HASHED, Bitmain, PANTERA, Coinsilium Group, Sequoia Capital, Last Remarks and others.