Coinbase makes its debut—and bitcoin arrives on wall street

     
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Coinbase is the talk of tech world this week as the cryptocurrency startup went public and its valuation soared lớn $85 billion. (Coinbase Photo)

Sometimes, making an exception can pay off.

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That’s what happened khổng lồ Version One Ventures, which typically invests in early-stage startups but veered off course khổng lồ make a bet on a fast-growing cryptocurrency company four years ago.

That investment in Coinbase “ended up as a multiple fund maker,” noted Version One General Partner Boris Wertz, who started the firm out of Vancouver, B.C. in 2012. Verison One invested in Coinbase partly because it believed blockchain/crypto lớn would be the next computing platform.


Coinbase reached a massive valuation of $85 billion after its first day as a public company Wednesday. Firms such as Version One & others including Silibé Valley’s Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Initialized Capital, and Ribbit Capital saw huge windfalls thanks lớn their earlier Coinbase investments.

Coinbase, which lets people buy and sell cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, is the first crypkhổng lồ company to danh mục shares on a U.S. stoông chồng exchange.

I funded Coinbase in 2012. 6000x on my best startup investment yet.https://t.co/95aHoWTkBg pic.twitter.com/N5wC72SzTa

— Garry Tan (
garrytan) April 14, 2021

Version One is the only investor with Pacific Northwest DNA that backed the cryptocurrency startup.

That got us wondering — how are other investors across Seattle and the Pacific Northwest thinking about cryptocurrency và related technology such as blockchain, the technical backbone of cryptocurrencies?


The Seattle region is not exactly a hotbed for crypto, though a group of tech leaders are trying to lớn help the area morph into lớn a fintech hub. There are some crypto lớn startups such as Strix Leviathan, Bittrex, Unikrn, Coinme, Stably, và CryptoSlate; many are part of the Cascadia Blockchain Council established by the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA).

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Amazon và Microsoft have sầu blockchain-related products as part of their cloud computing services, but neither have sầu dabbled much in crypto lớn — not yet, at least.

We reached out lớn a handful of firms khổng lồ get their thesis on cryptocurrency investments. Some said it wasn’t a focus area; others weren’t ready lớn share their strategy. But many are bullish about crypto lớn and blockchain opportunities.

Kirby Winfield, founding general partner at Asckết thúc.vc: “We believe that as cryptocurrency matures as an asmix class, a purpose-built financial ecosystem will emerge that mirrors the one supporting the equity/fiat investment markets. This thesis informed our investment in Seattle’s Makara, the first direct-to-consumer mutual fund/ETF for the crypto lớn ecosystem!”


Heather Redman, managing partner at Flying Fish Partners: “As you know, we are a bit unusual aước ao Seattle-area investors because we’re specialists in AI/ML rather than generalists, so we don’t see as much cryplớn or blockchain as some. I’m personally a crypkhổng lồ investor (gave up on gold!), và am super curious & bullish about how it moves forward. Software is definitely eating financial services generally (see Jamie Dimon’s recent statements) và crypto is playing an increasing role in that. We’re hanging around the hoop looking for the perfect AI/cryplớn mashup, & I hope it’s right here in our backyard.”

Aviel Ginzburg, general partner at Founders’ Co-op: “For context, Founders’ Co-op’s only crypto investment has been inkhổng lồ Jesse Proudman’s Strix Leviathan and Makara. We are neither crypto bulls nor bears but believe that cryptocurrencies will play a growing role in the global economy as both a digital store of value & as a means for financial transactions. With regards to exactly what that looks lượt thích (NFTs/etc.) we don’t pretend know or have sầu a specific thesis, but see lots of opportunities at the picks and shovels/infrastructure level. The Coinbase IPO finally brings widespread institutional legitimacy khổng lồ the space and we expect things to only accelerate from here.”

We’re hanging around the hoop looking for the perfect AI/cryplớn mashup, và I hope it’s right here in our backyard.

Cameron Borum&, general partner at Fuse Venture Partners: “We wake up every day to tư vấn emerging entrepreneurs within the Pacific Northwest & we see the crypkhổng lồ market as one that will be critical to lớn this entire công nghệ ecosystem. There are three areas that we find most compelling within the crypto-landscape: 1. Financial services infrastructure that enable other businesses và applications lớn utilize the power of decentralized currencies and services; 2. Compliance services for corporations that will hold và actively manage cryptocurrencies; 3. We think that the non-fungible token market will move sầu from consumer-friendly applications (ex. NBA Top Shot) to lớn that of B2B applications, so we are looking for folks that are building those decentralized services.”

S. “Soma” Somasegar, managing director at Madromãng cầu Venture Group: “We are absolutely tracking the lathử nghiệm developments and advances enabled by blockchain technologies and are excited by what we see — and the potential for growth. Cryptocurrency is one such công nghệ. We have been monitoring where they are finding traction in the market for some time and expect to be highly selective sầu on opportunities.”

Ben Gilbert, managing director at Pioneer Square Labs: “Cryptocurrencies — especially Bitcoin and Ethereum — have sầu now been legitimized as stores of value by big institutional players và large corporations. Coinbase going public represents a big step in that continued move sầu inlớn the mainstream. We believe sầu that new infrastructure companies will continue to lớn be built to lớn support this ecosystem — after all, there are far more companies required khổng lồ maintain the public stoông chồng market ecosystem than just a stochồng exchange.”

James Newell, partner at Voyager Capital: “‘Crypto’ is really just an implementation of a broader underlying giải pháp công nghệ shift toward blockchain và we are intentional about not using those terms interchangeably. We focus on how big underlying shifts, including blockchain, will solve problems for customers & cross the chasm from early adopters who just love sầu buying cool things to lớn massive adoption. Much of the ‘heat’ in the space thus far has been consumer driven and somewhat speculative, but it has now proven technical feasibility & evangelized the space in a major way. So we are highly focused right now on finding use cases within the enterprise as the underlying technology proliferates.”

Anthony Bontrager, managing director at WestRiver Group: “For our part, WestRiver has always believed in the fundamental power of blockchain công nghệ to lớn reshape various industries. Our investment focus does include a blockchain element, but one centered on the underlying technological elements as opposed to lớn those centered on currencies. The former we believe sầu, has & will continue to have sầu applicability across a number of markets, while the latter poses a number of risk elements that we don’t feel are appropriate for our specific fund. That said, it’s a very exciting space.”


Madrona Venture Group partners with Founders from Day One for the Long Run.

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That means seed stage investing — an average of 30% of their initial investments are in seed stage companies.

What goes into the process of securing seed funding? Four of their investors share their thoughts. Learn more about Prepping Your Seed Pitch.

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