The Exchange

Approaches & Activity in Crypto Company Investing [The Exchange #004]

An episode of The Exchange

By The Exchange
The Exchange is a podcast for professional investors curious about or active in cryptocurrencies -- a significant new asset class that traditional finance institutions are now exploring. Each episode we speak with an early mover in the space from venture capital, private equity, top financial firms, and more. Learn how these individuals and their firms are approaching the world of cryptocurrency and the many issues everyone in this space are tackling: the incredible proliferation of tokens & blockchains, ICOs & regulatory issues, investment strategies, and how to stay on top of it all.
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Approaches & Activity in Crypto Company Investing [The Exchange #004]
Ash Egan is a Principal at Accomplice focusing on early-stage blockchain and crypto investments. Previously, he was a founding Principal on the venture team at ConsenSys, the largest blockchain company in the world, where he led investments in BlockFi, Vault, RocketPool, and Quantstamp. Ash began his career in venture at Converge VC, where he focused primarily on blockchain/crypto and machine learning applications, and led the firm's investment in Chainalysis' seed round. Show notes & links below; subscribe for future episodes! You can also watch this discussion on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVeoGp1D76A  This episode hosted by: Manasi Vora Manasi is a Boston finance professional and blockchain enthusiast. A former portfolio manager for Dalal Capital Advisors, she's more recently worked in research with the MIT Digital Currency Initiative. She served as Director of this year's MIT Bitcoin Expo, and is the founder of Boston's Women in Blockchain group. 00:27 - Ash's painful story about a USB stick full of crypto 02:40 - Why Ash decided to focus on blockchain as a VC 04:00 - How investing at Accomplice differs from other blockchain & crypto investors 05:42 - Comparing ConsenSys ventures' focus on the ethereum ecosystem to being a protocol-agnostic investors 07:35 - Areas of interest at Accomplice 11:30 - Investing in companies for equity vs investing in digital assets 13:20 - Valuation models for crypto networks 17:43 - Managing governance rights / responsibilities as a token-holding investors 20:00 - Where there's the most startup activity in the space 23:11 - Alternative approaches to fundraising in the crypto space 24:42 - M&A activity approaching, and issues tokens raise 27:30 - Open finance / decentralized finance, and how it will impact the traditional finance industry 30:26 - Exit paths for crypto companies 32:31 - What Ash knows about crypto now that he wishes he knew 3 years ago 36:10 - Upcoming developments Ash is excited for Thanks for listening! Subscribe for future episodes.
39:35
May 13, 2019
#003 - The Challenges & Nuance of Crypto Regulation w/ Patrick Murck
In this episode, Patrick Murck, a legal expert on cryptocurrency since its earliest days, joins us to talk about the present and future regulation of the space. Described by investor Michael Troiano as "the man who made Bitcoin respectable," Patrick co-founded and later served as Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation, playing a key role in 2013 Senate hearings that shaped the opinions of policy makers. Today, Patrick serves as a member of both the IMF and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York FinTech advisory groups, as a Special Counsel at Cooley LLP, and as an angel investor. Show notes & links below; subscribe for future episodes! You can also watch this episode on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHFyAvpHHhQ  This episode hosted by: Manasi Vora Manasi is a Boston finance professional and blockchain enthusiast. A former portfolio manager for Dalal Capital Advisors, she's more recently worked in research with the MIT Digital Currency Initiative. She served as Director of this year's MIT Bitcoin Expo, and is the founder of Boston's Women in Blockchain group. 00:51 - The 2009 startup that first got Patrick interested in Bitcoin 02:27 - Bitcoin devs to Patrick: "You're a lawyer / startup guy that knows digital currency regulation in 2011? Come be a part of this." Patrick's journey into the crypto ecosystem + what led to the lightbulb moment for him. 05:41 - Has the US's regulatory environment been confusing? Has it caused the US to fall behind the rest of the world? 06:51 - Fragmentation of US regulatory bodies vs other countries like Singapore or the UK 10:34 - US regulator actions on token sales 15:00 - Are most ICOs securities offerings? 16:40 - Implications for exchanges trading tokens + who's the 'operator' of a decentralized exchange? 18:45 - Future of ICOs / alternative models for distributing tokens for a new network 22:30 - What makes Bitcoin special 24:58 - Patrick's approach to angel investing 28:50 - The closing gap of KYC arbitrage, and the opportunity for better tools that balance privacy with fighting illicit finance 34:28 - The dearth of good information serving institutions in the crypto ecosystem 36:32 - The magical properties of money and why code is law 41:55 - The need for regulatory clarity that holds back some institutions + why that creates entrepreneurial opportunity 44:22 - What crypto infrastructure does the ecosystem still need? 46:05 - Patrick's 3rd or 4th "crypto winter" and why he loves it Thanks for listening! Subscribe for future episodes.
47:41
April 8, 2019
#002 Early Crypto at Fidelity + Cryptocurrency Infrastructure w/ Matt Walsh
In this episode, we’re joined by a former Fidelity Investments VP, Matt Walsh, who started a public blockchain-focused VC fund, Castle Island Ventures. We discuss why Fidelity is so progressive on blockchain-enabled fintech, the opportunities CIV sees in blockchain infrastructure, and Matt’s predictions around regulation, exchanges, and blockchain powering the next wave of innovation. Show notes & links below; subscribe for future episodes! Our Guest: Matthew Walsh, Managing Partner at Castle Island Ventures Castle Island Ventures is an early stage venture fund focused exclusively on the blockchain / cryptoasset sector. Prior to founding Castle Island Ventures, Matt was a Vice President at Fidelity Investments, where he led a number of the firm’s blockchain initiatives. While at Fidelity, he led the creation, operationalization and the investment strategy of a private fund focused on cryptoasset investments. Our Host: Abbey Titcomb Abbey is the EiR & Head of Strategy at Onward Labs, a venture studio working with founders leveraging emerging technologies to solve the world's most pressing issues. She is also an Associate at Underscore.VC, a $85M early-stage tech venture firm with a community-centric model supporting the next generation of transformative entrepreneurs. Abbey is hyper-curious and tech-obsessed, with focuses in blockchain, artificial intelligence, and consumer tech as a whole. Show Notes 00:49 - How Matt got involved in crypto in business school 01:50 - Scenario-planning for the future of blockchain & financial services while at Fidelity https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/28/fidelity-ceo-abigail-johnson-says-the-company-is-mining-cryptocurrencies/ 06:02 - Being able to explore crypto at Fidelity because of support from the top, lack of career risk 07:50 - Early experiments with crypto at Fidelity https://www.fidelitylabs.com/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zh69_jruVzQ 09:15 - Why Matt created Castle Island Ventures, started investing in blockchain companies. http://www.castleisland.vc/ 10:35 - CIV's focus on public blockchains & infrastructure 11:45 - Why invest in these companies as an equity investor? Matt explains his skepticism around ICOs / the proliferation of native utility tokens. 14:07 - Market infrastructure -- custody, exchanges, *data* -- that's needed regardless. 16:10 - How CIV differs from other blockchain investors; investments they're looking to make. https://flipsidecrypto.com/ 18:39 - What kind of companies Matt's excited about 20:26 - The need for visibility into transaction volume on different chains 21:20 - What will be necessary for a Bitcoin / crypto ETF https://www.coindesk.com/sec-rejects-7-bitcoin-etf-proposals/ 24:07 - Centralized exchanges vs decentralized exchanges 25:56 - Matt's long-term view on blockchain & cryptocurrency as a whole 27:55 - How current web giants, whose businesses are built around data monopolies, will be disrupted by blockchain Thanks for listening! Subscribe for future episodes.
31:32
January 8, 2019
#001 Venture Investing in Blockchain Cos w/ Geoff Bernstein, GP & Cofounder of Indicator Ventures
In our first episode, we sit down with venture capitalist Geoff Bernstein of Indicator Ventures, an early-stage fund that's made investments in several blockchain-powered companies, including our own. We discuss how Indicator sees blockchain technology & investment opportunities around it, how traditional equity investing compares to and interacts with ICOs, and what VCs and other equity investors should be thinking about when investing in companies that may ICO. Show notes & links below; subscribe for future episodes! Our Host: Abbey Titcomb Abbey is the EiR & Head of Strategy at Onward Labs, a venture studio working with founders leveraging emerging technologies to solve the world's most pressing issues. She is also an Associate at Underscore.VC, a $85M early-stage tech venture firm with a community-centric model supporting the next generation of transformative entrepreneurs. Abbey is hyper-curious and tech-obsessed, with focuses in blockchain, artificial intelligence, and consumer tech as a whole. Show Notes 00:52 - How Geoff went from a hedge fund to VC http://www.indicatorventures.com/ 03:11 - How Indicator is more hands-on; getting companies from "fragility to stability" 04:31 - Indicator's investment thesis 07:31 - How Indicator got into blockchain https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/blockchain-for-dummies/9781119365594/ https://unikrn.com/ 11:52 - "wrinkle in the governance" challenge of companies that previously raised funding via equity rounds now offering ICOs 16:08 - How Indicator's LPs felt about a portfolio company's ICO, Indicator's advisement to LPs 18:30 - Indicator's investment in Caplinked, which will be ICOing https://www.caplinked.com/ 19:30 - Caplinked's thesis around security-backed tokens 22:40 - For ICOs, importance of the type of people you're offering to 25:07 - Geoff's advice to entrepreneurs to "pick a path" - ICO or equity investors; why the two don't mix right now, but, how they could in the future. 28:21 - What requirements Geoff thinks should be in place for companies that want to offer an ICO but have existing equity investors. 30:41 - Nerding out on the mechanics of venture fund interactions from ICOs - returns, taxes, etc. 32:16 - Indicator's investment targets in blockchain companies going forward https://www.everbloom.co/ https://www.noblebankint.com/ 34:59 - What's needed for VCs / traditional equity investors to invest in crypto 42:45 - How Indicator plans to stay relevant / the future of VCs vs ICOs Thanks for listening! Subscribe for future episodes.
45:17
November 1, 2018
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