Our Investment Thesis
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 late 2000s. Each computing model enabled new classes of applications that built on the unique strengths of the platform. For example, smartphones were the first truly personal computers with built-in sensors like GPS and high-resolution cameras. Applications like Instagram, Snapchat, and Uber/Lyft took advantage of these unique capabilities and are now used by billions of people.
Blockchain computers were first proposed in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto in the Bitcoin whitepaper. Those original ideas have since been dramatically expanded by developers and researchers around the world. Blockchain computers 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.
Although the Bitcoin whitepaper is now more than 10 years old, we believe we are still early in the crypto movement. Crypto is purely a software movement and doesn’t depend on a hardware buildout, in contrast to, say, the internet, which required laying cables and building cell towers. Second, the space is developing extremely rapidly, partly because the code, data, and knowledge is largely open source, and partly because of the increasing inflow of talent.
Learn more >> See a16z's Crypto Startup School videos for lectures and presentations from leading experts
Finally, we are optimistic because we are deep believers in the power of software. Software is simply the encoding of human thought, and as such has an almost unbounded design space. We find ourselves consistently surprised and excited by the wide variety of creative crypto ideas we encounter. For those of us who have been involved in software for a long time, it feels like the early days of the internet, web 2.0, or smartphones all over again.
The a16z crypto funds
a16z crypto has more than $3B under management across three funds, investing in crypto companies and protocols. Our funds are designed to include the best features of traditional venture capital, updated to the modern crypto world:
- We are long-term, patient investors. As a firm, we've been investing in crypto since 2013. a16z crypto is structured as a venture fund, meaning we have a committed capital base and expect to hold investments for 10+ years.
- We have “all weather” funds. We invest consistently over time, regardless of market conditions. The history of crypto shows that asset prices may fluctuate but innovation continues to increase through those cycles.
- We provide operational support to entrepreneurs. Our crypto investments have access to a dedicated a16z crypto operating team as well as the firm’s full team. Our operating teams have deep expertise in executive and technical recruiting, regulatory affairs, communications and marketing, network governance, and general startup management. We are responsible participants in the governance of companies and the governance of networks.
- We are flexible with respect to stage, asset type, and geography. We invest at all stages, from early stage projects to fully developed later-stage networks. We’ll invest in traditional financial instruments like equity or convertible notes, and new instruments including the direct purchase of tokens. Crypto is a global phenomenon, and we invest everywhere.
- We invest in all areas of crypto, including infrastructure, new layer 1s, DeFi, NFTs, gaming, DAOs, social tokens, decentralized social networks, web 3 apps — and new ideas that don’t have names or categories yet.
In just over a decade of existence, crypto has gone through several waves. With each new wave, crypto extends to new categories, and more visionary entrepreneurs enter the space. If you’re one of them, we’d love to hear from you.
Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described on this page are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. Exits include current and former a16z portfolio companies which have been acquired as well as companies which have undergone an initial public offering or direct public offering of shares. Certain publicly traded companies on this list may still be held in Andreessen Horowitz funds. A list of investments made by funds managed by a16z is available here: https://a16z.com/investments/. Excluded from this list are investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets. Further, the list of investments is updated monthly and as such may not reflect most recent a16z investments. Past results of Andreessen Horowitz’s investments, pooled investment vehicles, or investment strategies are not necessarily indicative of future results.
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