Posted May 12, 2022

We at a16z started investing in bitcoin in 2013, several years before we had a dedicated crypto fund. We have always been big believers in Bitcoin, its unique history and its foundational role in crypto. 

It’s hard to overstate the growth and impact Bitcoin has had since Satoshi published his paper in October 2008. It is now legal tender in two countries. It finds mentions in songs, TV shows and movies. Millions of people hold bitcoin as their first entry into the crypto ecosystem. A 2021 survey found 86% of Americans had heard of cryptocurrency and 16% had interacted with crypto – up from only 48% being aware in a similar survey in 2015. 

We have been looking for an opportunity for quite a while to back the right team to build on top of Bitcoin and bring exciting new technological innovation to the network.

Enter Lightspark

Lightspark is a new effort with a stellar team working on exploring, building on and extending the capabilities of Bitcoin. As a first step, they’re actively assembling a team to dive deeper into the Lightning Network and contribute to it.

The team

David Marcus is nothing short of a legend in the payments and crypto industry. We have known David for over a decade through his work leading PayPal and then heading up Messenger at Facebook. We then got to work with him closely in his time heading up Novi at Meta. When David spoke to us about Lightspark and the early team he had assembled (several of whom we had tried to hire ourselves!), we couldn’t have been more thrilled. 

This is the sort of team and audacious mission that doesn’t come around often. We are super excited to partner with Lightspark on their ambitious effort. Welcome, Lightspark!