The SEC may be firing off subpoenas to crypto investment funds and ICO projects left, right and center — apparently over 80 — but that isn’t stopping Andreessen Horowitz, the influential Silicon Valley firm known as A16z, from starting its own crypto-based fund.
The rumor has been going around for a while — not a huge surprise since the firm has invested in the likes of Coinbase, Earn.com and CryptoKitties and co-founder Marc Andreessen (pic above) is a big crypto advocate — but it now appears there is genuine substance to it. Recode spotted a couple of A16z job vacancies that seem to confirm that the wheels are in motion.
One for a ‘Finance and Operations Manager, Crypto Assets‘ and another for a ‘Legal Counsel, Crypto Assets‘ explicitly detail that the firm is planning “a separately managed fund focusing on crypto assets.” The legal role itself includes “compliance with appropriate SEC regulations,” and in particular “managing the firm’s/fund compliance with all SEC/other regulations,” while the operations manager is tasked with the challenging job of valuing crypto assets among other responsibilities.
A number of traditional VC funds have invested in crypto companies and, in a few cases, joined initial coin offerings (ICOs), but there hasn’t been a stampede. The more prolific crypto investors have been dedicated funds like Pantera Capital, Polychain Capital and Sparkchain Capital. Those firms hold crypto assets — most of which is in Ethereum — in order to invest and divest in company tokens and cryptocurrencies as part of ICOs or just generally as retail investors do.
Despite the potential for big gains and the ability to liquidate an investment at any time, crypto is in a legal grey area and that has put many U.S. investors off, even if some have dabbled on the side through personal investments. If it goes ahead, A16z’s fund might blaze a trail for others to follow.
Disclosure: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.