Crypto sure requires a lot of fiat – TechCrunch

by Emma

Welcome back to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s broadly based on the daily column on Extra Crunch but accessible and made for your weekend reading. Want it in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here.

Ready? Let’s talk money, startups, and spicy IPO rumors.

Hello from Friday; I presume that you are currently enjoying the long weekend. In celebration of this week’s Exchange letter, we’ll try something new by being brief. 

If you are tired of hearing about cryptocurrencies, I have bad news. They are not only not going away, but it appears that the financial cannon that have helped clear the fields for their general advance is reloading with even more financial ammunition.

Crypto sure requires a lot of fiat – TechCrunch

At least that’s what Eric Newcomer is reporting in a post out this week aptly titled “a16z Crypto Fund Balloons to $2 Billion.” This raises a few points. First! That there is enough LP demand for funding a crypto vehicle to the tune of $2 billion. Second! That there are enough hot crypto ideas out there worth sticking $2 billion into.

I can entirely believe the former, but the latter stretches my brain a little. Not that there aren’t great companies being built in the blockchain space; Coinbase’s Q1 earnings indicate that you can make money with crypto. But it seems that the firms that have proven the most successful thus far are more a hybrid of the traditional banking world and the crypto space than entirely inhabitants of the latter.

But as those ideas have been mined to increasing perfection, we should anticipate seeing money chase the more experimental crypto ideas. As I noted in the Daily Crunch yesterday, there’s a lot of money already going into those markets:

[Y]ou’ve heard of non-fungible tokens or NFTs. If you have already digested the NBA TopShot hype wave, buckle in because many folks are still building in the NFT world. That includes Anima, bringing AR to NFTs, and just raising new capital from Coinbase, and Infinite Objects, which raised $6 million to help folks obtain their NFTs IRL.

This is where venture investing in crypto — and that mammoth a16z fund — gets interesting. Sure, crypto exchanges can make money. But what about the further reaches of the crypto economy? Can they build material revenues that the fiat world can understand and go public? (Do they even want to go public?)

It’s a pleasure to watch other people wager other people’s money on ideas that may fail. Heads they lose, tails we win. Not bad!

Twitter’s subscription (and media?) moment

Twitter’s “Blue” subscription product is slowly dripping its way into the market. I’m going to buy it, whatever it is. But what I can’t get out of my head is that Twitter is very well positioned to build a sort of creator nirvana. After all, Twitter is already where many writers, journalists, and artists hang out. Where we already have a following. Why not help us weirdos leverage all the time we’ve spent on the platform?

You can see how this could scale. Now that Twitter has bought startups Revue and Scroll, it could build a newsletter platform where Blue subscriber money is divvied up amongst writers for its platform. Or Twitter could buy Medium, as a friend suggested to me the other day. Medium has a huge subscriber base, which Twitter could merge into Blue and provide a sort of extra-social-network-network for writers and other creatives. Right?

If I had a few billion dollars, a few thousand engineers, and a dictate from shareholders to grow, I’d go hog-wild and do some crazy shit. Let’s see what Twitter comes up with, but let’s hope that they aren’t making small plans. Closing, you can catch up on all we wrote on The Exchange during the week here. Have a charming break; we all need one.

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