former a16z partner and Mediachain cofounder Jesse Walden discusses “Fundraising and Deal Structure” for crypto startups. During early product development, crypto startups can raise traditional venture capital through equity, which allows for the most alignment between founders and investors. Then, unlike a traditional startup, a crypto startup can invite its user base to participate in ownership and operation via the disbursement of tokens, once the core founding team has found product-market fit and established a viable network. This aligns incentives among the network, its users, the core team, and venture investors. Issuing tokens dilutes the stakes of the core team and early investors, but this is a desirable outcome because incentivizing more participants increases the chances that a network will grow. This leads to a larger pie overall for investors to share.
Walden also discusses Network Monetary Policy, citing Bitcoin, with its guaranteed limit of 21 million tokens, as having a fixed, deflationary supply policy. Other networks may be inflationary, with no ceiling on token amount, thereby perpetually diluting founders and early investors. A perpetually dilutive system can nonetheless be productive for token holders due to staking, or the process of holders contributing to the operation of the network, which pays off in newly minted tokens for stakers and the retention of their ownership stakes.
Andreessen Horowitz’s Crypto Startup School brought together 45 participants from around the U.S. and overseas in a seven-week course to learn how to build crypto companies. Andreessen Horowitz is partnering with TechCrunch to release the online version of the course over the next few weeks.
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