Visionary, he has become the most influential cryptocurrency investor

Chris Dixon didn’t join a16z overnight. To become Coinbase’s Guardian Angel and for CEO Brian Armstrong to name him as “the most influential investor”the Ohio native in the US has gone a long way, ignored by many but criticized by some such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

“My job is not to predict the future”he stalled recently in an interview with Forbes. “My job is to be smart enough to know who the smart people will be who stand out.” he specified. Visionary for his ability to be a headhunter, he managed to unearth the best nuggets on the planet, in technology before even specializing in cryptocurrencies.

Thanks to him, an exceptional track record for the a16z investment fund: 14 stakes in Coinbase financing operations since 2013 (jackpot when the company is listed on the stock exchange), investments in Uniswap, a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange platform, in Avalanche (blockchain ) and in NBA Top Shot, an NFT platform.

From $ 350 million to over $ 6 billion, the funds invested by a16z in 2021 increased 17.7 times thanks to the performance of the companies Chris Dixon was betting on. The New York newspaper Forbes decided to make the portrait of a character without whom you would have understood, the world of cryptocurrencies would not have been the same.

Technology visionary

What will be the new technology of the decade, after computers in the 1980s, the Internet in the 1990s, then cell phones in the 2000s? It was in 2013 that Chris Dixon says he considered the question, before deciding to invest $ 25 million in Coinbase. But prior to this, his winning betting record was already complete.

Kickstarter in 2009, Pinterest in 2011, said it was trying to find “moonshots,” those companies that could become leaders in their field in the future. To raise money, he took advantage of the acquisition of his own startups, Hunch and SiteAdvisor, the former of which sold for $ 75 million on eBay.

Chris Dixon, a self-employed investor who became the director of one of the largest VCs on the planet, also stood out on his personal blog. In 2010, for example, he wrote a post describing his vision of the disruptive technologies of tomorrow. For him, “the next great revolutionary technologies will start to look like toys”, he wrote. A reasoning that echoes today with the emergence – at times derided – of NFTs.

Controversial personality and strategy

Behind his acclamation, Chris Dixon is also criticized. Thanks to Coinbase, he is reported by many supporters of decentralized finance and Bitcoin. Because by investing in Coinbase, a16z has chosen to bet on centralized players, who only have one goal with cryptocurrencies to make a profit. Result: the web3, which must be the next version of the web powered by decentralized projects, blockchain and the absence of heavyweights like GAFA, is under threat.

Jack Dorsey, the Twitter founder who quit his CEO job to focus on Bitcoin development, is a major challenger to Chris Dixon and VC a16z’s vision. In December 2021 he repented in a tweet: “You don’t own Web3. Investment funds have it. […] Web3 is ultimately a centralized entity with a different label “.

At the beginning of April he added a layer saying that Web3 will not solve the problems of Web 2.0 because of these funds perpetuating the same mistakes of traditional finance: problem for personal data, for competition, for security. This time he did it himself my fault apologizing to himself for starting Twitter with an advertising-only model. Currently, Jack Dorsey is working on his decentralized social network.

“The days of Usenet, IRC, the web… even email (with PGP)… were great. The centralization of discovery and identity in enterprises has really damaged the Internet. I realize I am partly responsible and I regret it “he wrote.

Following these Twitter comments, Chris Dixon reacted impulsively and blocked Jack Dorsey. When he himself defended the importance of decentralized Web3 in one thread, Jack Dorsey countered “That was not Gandhi” and that it was “a fund determined to be a media empire that cannot be ignored”. To which Chris Dixon replied that he invited all the actors to join him “solve these problems” together.

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