Blockfi, A Crypto Bank, Announces New Financing.

We’ve long been fans of crypto lending; we’ve made investments in two companies over the last two years, and are active in both borrowing and lending cryptocurrencies. We’ve now also invested in Blockfi, and this is our first equity investment in what is essentially a nascent, and regulated, crypto bank. Blockfi has been added to our portfolio page.

The round was announced late last week: $30 million raised in a Series B, following $18m in a Series A last year. Besides Arrington XRP Capital, investors in the round include Morgan Creek Digital, PJC, Akuna Capital, CMT Digital, Winklevoss Capital, Avon Ventures, Castle Island Ventures, Purple Arch Ventures, Kenetic Capital, Arrington XRP Capital and HashKey Capital.

The company is absolutely killing it, even in the largely moribund crypto markets over the last two years. Revenue is up 20x over the last year, and deposits grew from $250m in August 2019 to $650m today.

These guys are winning. Very happy to join their team!

See more coverage: Coindesk, Bloomberg, CoinTelegraph and The Block.

Notes On Upcoming Skale Token Sale On ConsenSys Activate

News broke this morning that our portfolio company Skale will partner with ConsynSys’ Activate platform to sell tokens via a dutch auction.

Importantly, purchasers will be required to stake purchased tokens, which should discourage participation from pure speculators hoping to flip tokens for an immediate profit.

Read more about the news on Decrypt, Coindesk, CoinTelegraph, The Block, FinanceMagnates, VentureBeat, Kyle Samani and Spencer Noon.

Read our previous post on Skale here.

Crypto Wars: A New Hope

Nakamoto.com, a new initiative founded by crypto investor and entrepreneur Balaji Srinivasan, launched quietly last Friday evening. There was no initial press coverage, just a series of tweets to announce the purpose of the new website and link to some of the initial posts.

.A battle quickly erupted on Crypto Twitter about the use of the Satoshi name for a website that includes authors that are not approved by the high priests of the bitcoin fundamentalist sect.

Regardless, Balaji’s initial post was a rallying cry for the future of crypto, and Bitcoin’s rightful place as the flag of a new wave of technology.

I think this is a much needed resource to help heal some of the senseless fighting in crypto today. Many outsiders see a lot of chaos in crypto, insane infighting that appears meaningless to newcomers but quickly demands that someone take a side. Pro BTC or anti-BTC (just saying “Pro-Bitcoin leads many to ask “WHAT Bitcoin do you mean!!!). Pro this alt coin or that one.

Healthy debates are wonderful and happen every day in crypto. But unhealthy debates, spectacularly dramatic, drown out the good conversations. Nakamoto appears to be an effort to bring together the more reasonable people in crypto to celebrate what’s good about the technology.

“That’s why we’re launching Nakamoto. We want to create a venue for quality technical, philosophical, and cultural writing that is of general interest to the crypto community as a whole, for beginner and expert alike.”

I’m a contributing writer to the site. My first post is titled It Will Take Years for Smart People to Understand Cryptocurrencies. You can read it here.

Anyone can write for the site. There is more information about contributing here.

Ethereum-Friendly Skale Raises Pile Of Money

Arrington XRP Capital participated in the just announced Skale funding round – some $17.1 million in total. You can read the details, soundbites and thoughtful quotes on the news sites. Here’s CoinDesk and TheBlock.

Yes, I’m a little salty today. I flew home last night on a redeye flight from New York. In coach. I was supposed to write about Skale at a designated time that coincided, I believe, with the exact moment on the flight where I, shuddering from cold, purchased two $5 blankets that I was told I was free to keep. When did we start having to buy blankets on flights? Will they install a credit card reader on the toilets next?

I’m convinced those bastard on Jet Blue turned the temperature down just to sell more blankets.

Anyway, I’ve had a solid 2 and a half hours of sleep now and I want to use my cheerfulness to explain why I think Skale is going to make us enough of a return that I will never, ever, have to fly coach again.

There are two reason. First, Skale has the best team I’ve ever seen. With the possible exception of any other founders I’ve invested in that happen to be reading this post, Skale has without a doubt the finest crypto team in the business. (I joke, but I’m serious. We invest in teams first, products second. It works).

Second, Skale can fix Ethereum. Even Joe Lubin, founder of Consensys, would admit this, and that’s why the venture arm of Consensys invested along side us.

If you are building in crypto, Skale might be an excellent partner and help you build things that actually work. And, well, scale. Mainnet is coming, soon, but you can test now.

Thank you, Skale, for including us in the round. Everyone wanted to invest, and we appreciate you finding room for us.

Arrington XRP Capital Welcomes Alex Shin, Former #Hashed Partner, As New Venture Partner

Many of you in the industry know Alex Shin well. He was a cofounder and partner at Seoul-headquartered #Hashed, one of the largest crypto venture capital and accelerator funds in the world.

Today we welcome Alex to Arrington XRP Capital as a Venture Partner. Alex will help us find new growth opportunities in Asia, the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Alex is American but speaks Korean natively and has lived in both San Francisco and Seoul for the last several years.

We are excited to work with Alex, helping us grow our footprint in Asia and beyond.

Algorand’s First Australian Tour, A Welcome from Arrington XRP Capital

Next week, Algorand is launching its first official Australian tour, where Founder Silvio Micali and Steve Kokinos will host a packed week of events in Sydney and Melbourne.

As Australian partners at the fund, Ninor and I are thrilled to welcome two of crypto’s brightest minds to our very own backyard. 

Silvio and Steve are a dynamic duo to say the least and definitely a pair you don’t want to miss live. As part of the roadshow, Algorand is hosting a big week of events from lectures at Australia’s top universities to a series of meetups and panel discussions with industry leaders from the local scene. 

Arrington XRP Capital will be joining the tour alongside partners Mozaik Capital, Blockchain Australia, Sydney Blockchain Professionals and the Blockchain Centre.

For our Aussie readers, here’s a summary of Silvio and Steve’s week ahead:

September 4 – Melbourne

September 5 – Sydney

September 6 – Sydney

On the 5th, I will moderate a panel discussion between Silvio and Steve, where we will be joined by legal mind Hannah Glass from King & Mallesons and blockchain engineer and Deepyr founder Adrian Guerrera. 

One of the best parts of being a crypto fund manager is the opportunity to not only invest in projects and founders globally, but to make friends and build communities across the world. It’s events like these that make the 24/7, timezone-agnostic chaos of the crypto markets well worth their permanence.

Algorand is one of the most ambitious projects in crypto. The team’s vision for a “borderless economy” aligns very closely with our own guiding principles at Arrington XRP Capital: our team is spread across continents and we invest globally in technologies and teams that are unbounded by the closed walls of a legacy financial system.

Hopefully the first of many. Welcome!

Our New Investment In Algo Capital

We are very pleased to join forces with Algo Capital, a new $200 million venture fund founded by David Garcia and Arul Murugan. We have invested in the fund, which will focus on the Algorand ecosystem.

See Coindesk: Arrington XRP Backs Fund’s $200 Million Raise for Algorand Blockchain

We join our friends at the Algorand Foundation, Neo Global Capital, Eterna Capital, GSR, Cognitive Blockchain, Rokk3r, Wibson, 11-11 Ventures, DG Ventures, Winslow Strong, Invermaster and other investors in supporting this new fund.

Algo Capital only takes commitments in Algos, much like our own XRP-only policy. We are very excited to be investors in the new fund, and look forward to co-investing in new blockchain projects with them in the future.

Additional coverage:

The Block: Bakkt investor backs $200M VC fund focused on Algorand blockchain

Finance Magnates: Algo VC Fund Raises $200M to Promote Algorand Blockchain

Yahoo Finance: Arrington XRP Backs Fund’s $200 Million Raise for Algorand Blockchain

BusinessWire: Algo Capital Closes Algo VC Fund at $200 Million

hypepotamus: ATLANTA-BASED VCS RAISE $200M BLOCKCHAIN FUND

Blockchain News: Algo Capital Closes Algo VC Fund at $200 Million – Doubling Expected $100 Million

Ron Palmeri Joins Arrington XRP Capital

Ron Palmeri is a seasoned silicon valley entrepreneur and investor. Today we welcome him to the Arrington XRP Capital team.

I first met Ron shortly after launching TechCrunch nearly 15 years ago. At the time he was a partner and cofounder at Minor Ventures, an early incubator and fund that launched a slew of amazing startups. Companies he helped start include Grand Central (which later became Google Voice) and Open DNS.

Ron later started and invested in more companies, including most recently Layer, a communications infrastructure company that was recently acquired.

That acquisition was lucky for us because it made Ron, an incredible leader and mentor, available to us. He has joined as a strategic advisor and consultant. We’ll keep him as long as we can, either until I convince him to join full time as a partner, or he goes off to start his next operating company.

Follow Ron on Twitter @Ronp.

The Monetary Experiment: Algorand

We explore the monetary experiment of Algorand, a new cryptocurrency invented by Turing Award winner Silvio Micali. Arrington XRP Capital will be participating in the Algorand economy by running a relay node and bidding in the Algorand Foundation’s dutch auctions.

Algorand brings together bleeding edge cryptography with a clever economic model that bootstraps Algo currency markets. This is a novel development that ties the token and technology to economic incentives that encourage efficient market pricing.

The Algorand Foundation will distribute 30% of Algos through downside-protected dutch auctions. In this world, auctions are akin to monetary policy catalysts, not only circulating tokens, but guiding price discovery both today and in the future. The clever part of this story is that any purchaser can refund their Algos one year after purchase, giving them up to 90% downside protection. This has wide implications for Algo market dynamics.

Algorand’s monetary experiment marries Silvio Micali’s solution to a three decade challenge in distributed systems with lessons from Foreign Currency (FX) trading, options pricing theory and traditional asset management. As these markets mature, we predict that Algo will behave unlike any other cryptocurrency today. Not a stablecoin; but a cryptocurrency whose economic model motivates financial markets to form rational expectations and seek out self-fulfilling equilibrium.

The downside-protection clause also opens up a new world for institutional investors such as family offices or endowments who have not yet ventured into cryptocurrency because of its drawdowns. The simple question for these investors as well as others who hold cash in their cryptocurrency portfolios is thus: Why hold cash when you can hold downside-protected Algos, gaining cryptocurrency exposure without significant downside risk?

Algorand’s economic experiment is unprecedented. It is where macroeconomics meets cryptocurrency; and we believe that it will have wide-ranging implications for cryptocurrency portfolio management, hedging and broader market dynamics.

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