If you’re reading this, odds are you’ve heard the cliche that “Crypto Winter is the time for building.” It’s almost a mantra — even a lifeline — for those who believe in the underlying tech, have faith that the markets will bounce back, and are focused more on products than prices.
What’s less understood is that “crypto winter is the time for investing.” Or at least it is for the ones who are sticking around, such as the deep coffers of Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), which has now raised over $7 billion of capital for the crypto space, according to General Partner Ali Yahya.
Jeff Wilser is a book author, journalist, ghostwriter, and the host of the “AI-Curious” podcast.
“We’re still running the 85-person crypto team, and we’re 100% committed on crypto as a space,” says Yahya, who brushes off concerns that Marc Andreessen’s recent Techno-Optimist Manifesto did not specifically mention crypto. (Yahya explains that a16z’s other co-founder, Ben Horowitz, is the one who’s more crypto-focused.)
How can crypto winter lead to good investments? The way Yahya sees it, if you’re a founder and you’re launching in a bear market, that means you believe. You’re not here for a cash grab. You have conviction. “They have decided to bet their company, or even their career, in this space,” says Yahya. “Those are the people that we like to back.”
On a recent Zoom interview, Yahya appears upbeat, focused and fit. And by “fit” what I really mean is ripped. He’s bald, bearded, and wears a t-shirt that he looks ready to burst out of, Incredible Hulk-style. There’s even a sneaky connection to fitness and investing. “In power lifting, you’re essentially maxing out, and you are completely stressing your body all the way to its limit,” Yahya says, explaining that this requires discipline and focus, and that spills into the rest of his life.
This could even be a metaphor for crypto winter. “In some ways, the winter filters out the nonbelievers, right?” says Yahya, who shares what he looks for in a startup team, what he thinks it will take for crypto to reach true mainstream adoption, his advice for Web3 founders, why he now has a drive to “run into the fire, to almost seek out uncomfortable experiences, and then reframe them.”
Interview has been…