Historically, new models of computing have tended to emerge every 10–15 years: mainframes in the 60s, PCs in the late 70s, the internet in the early 90s, and smartphones in the 2000s. Today, a number of exciting new computing paradigms are on the cusp of going mainstream. We are particularly excited about the promise of blockchain computers such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many more recent projects they’ve inspired.
Blockchains are new types of computers where the unique capability is trust between users, developers, and the platform itself. This trust emerges from the mathematical and game-theoretic properties of the system, without depending on the trustworthiness of individual network participants. This in turn enables the credible creation of powerful new computing primitives, such as digital money, smart contracts, and decentralized organizations.
As with any new computing movement, blockchains have endured a variety of challenges, false starts, and misconceptions. Some of the challenges are technical (e.g., scalability), some are product related (e.g., user experience), but many are due to the lack of widespread understanding of the technology’s capabilities, and the best practices required to take it mainstream.
We’ve been involved in crypto/blockchains for almost seven years now, and as a team, have had the opportunity to learn from world-class entrepreneurs and technologists on topics like product and technology design, organization development, go-to-market strategy, and legal/regulatory best practices. We think that sharing the most important lessons we’ve learned could accelerate the development of existing projects, and inspire more talented people to join the space.
This is why we are excited to announce a16z Crypto Startup School, a seven-week program that will kick off in late February 2020. The lectures will be in person in Menlo Park, Cali., and afterwards we’ll be putting videos of the event along with curriculum materials online. The program is completely free. There is no charge and we don’t take equity. The curriculum is meant to supplement — not replace — the many other excellent programs and resources that help founders learn about building tech startups.
If you are as excited about crypto as we are, and have experience building software products, we invite you to apply. You will hear from leading technologists and investors in the field, and learn the fundamentals of building a crypto startup.
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