Down bad – TechCrunch

Welcome back to chain reaction.

Last week we talked about layoffs and the rock gods of Winklevoss. This week we look at a new layer of crypto doom and gloom.

Get this newsletter in your inbox every Thursday by subscribing TechCrunch newsletter page.

Crash Redux

We’ve talked about crypto crashes a few times in the short lifespan of this newsletter, but this week’s selloff spooked crypto insiders in a whole different way. Things are happening so fast right now that even veteran crypto investors seem uncomfortable about it.

While crypto winters have come before, they have never aligned with warning signs of a broader ongoing recession. Things have already collapsed so quickly at the signal of a recession that insiders are concerned that a protracted bear market could hit crypto much harder than expected — tearing tokens to lows well below the highs of the 2017 bull run.

That means tough times for tokens, but also more brutal realities for the entire ecosystem.

This week we saw major institutions connect as crypto lending protocol Celsius stuttered, dragging Ethereum prices with it as investors feared a price drop caused by allegedly over-leveraged players like 3 Arrows Capital. Despite crypto’s decentralization ethos, the potential for cascading failures seems just as possible for the crypto world as it is for traditional financial markets.

When things fail harder and faster than before, how quickly can fledgling startups and crypto communities adapt to changing fortunes? Few companies have to deal with the stress of both crypto and public markets like Coinbase, which laid off more than 1,100 employees this week, but many startups have launched mega rounds in 2021 in a theoretical attempt to future-proof their companies. For DAOs and protocols with treasuries in ETH, many have seen their budgets for community efforts and stretch projects decimated, threatening their very survival.

With no promise of riches or reduced interest in blockchain-based exclusivity, where will consumer demand go? Will governance communities become more self-motivated and concerned about short-term goals when their groups are no longer filled with millionaires but are seeing their gains evaporate? How much worse will it get?

the latest pod

Someone calls 911. The Celsius crypto lending protocol doesn’t burn, but it did Freeze all customer withdrawals over the past weekend, citing concerns about its own liquidity amid “extreme market conditions”. Since then, the company, which claimed to have 1.7 million users before the break, has seen its own token crash (and then recover and crash again), sending already battered crypto markets into a tailspin. We talked about what went wrong on the Celsius network and how surprisingly it is intertwined with the rest of crypto.

Regulators are taking advantage of this downturn moment while web3 is already looking pretty dodgy and investors are mad at losing money to crack down on certain companies in the space. From BlockFi to Binance.US, some of the biggest crypto names are facing lawsuits and/or fines for their practices.

However, the tech billionaire brothers are still okay, for better or for worse. Block’s Jack Dorsey announced this week that he was ready to abandon web3 and move on to his vision of the Internet, which he calls “web5”. Elon Musk also chimed in with a particularly creative suggestion that we discussed in this week’s episode.

Our guest, Aaron Levie, has built a successful SaaS business in Box and is now on a mission to — respectfully — score web3 stans all over Twitter. Levie shared with us how he walks the fine line of becoming a crypto critic without ending up in the bulls’ bad books.

Subscribe to Chain Reaction Apple, Spotify or your alternative podcast platform of choice to keep up with us each week.

follow the money

Where startup funds are moving in the crypto world:

  1. Indonesian fintech platform flip has launched a $55 million Series B expansion led by Tencent with participation from Block (formerly known as Square) and existing Insight Partners backers.
  2. Launch of the NFT infrastructure NFTPort raised a $26 million Series A round led by Atomico.
  3. ScienceMagic.Studiosa digital asset focused brand studio, raised $10.3 million in pre-seed investments from investors including Liberty City Ventures, Digital Currency Group and Coinbase Ventures.
  4. A Words With Friends co-founder raised $46 million in a Paradigm-led Series A round for their Web3 gaming startup. The WildCard Alliance.
  5. moleculea platform for DAOs to support medical research projects, secured $13 million in seed funding led by Northpond Ventures.
  6. Metaverse play and earn company Atmos Labs raised $11 million in a seed round led by Sfermion.
  7. Creator-focused Web3 sitebuilder Tellie $10 million in Series A funding from investors including Malibu Point Capital, Galaxy Digital and Dapper Labs.
  8. Crypto payment platform number raised $2 million in a pre-seed round led by Sequoia India.
  9. Dutch fintech stock levelswhich offers crypto rewards, has raised $4.5 million in its seed round from Keen Venture Partners, Yellow Accelerator, and others.
  10. Launch of a decentralized trading infrastructure Orderly network raised $20 million in Series A funding from investors including Three Arrows Capital, Pantera Capital and Dragonfly Capital.

the week on the web3

Crypto markets were pretty bad last week (although admittedly it’s only been downhill since then). But temperatures soared in Austin, Texas, as 20,000 people in the crypto community gathered to discuss how to steer their industry, which looks poised to burst into flames. Anita had the opportunity to attend the conference, so she’s back with some thoughts from practice:

I have many friends and acquaintances who aren’t nearly as immersed in crypto as I am, and one question I’ve heard over and over for the past few weeks is whether this downturn in digital asset markets is the death knell for them web3. Is the party in other worlds actually over now that the music has stopped?

I shared my two cents/two satoshis on the matter on Los Angeles Public Radio this week (Listen), but I want to use this space to highlight some thoughts I have after hearing from people in the industry at Consensus. In short, I don’t think this is the end of crypto, but it’s certainly going to be a tough time for space.

In a panel on how to invest in web3 in a turbulent market, Arca’s Chief Investment Officer Jeff Dorman made an interesting point about what sets web3 apart from most other sectors, at least as defined by the financial markets.

“I don’t even think about digital assets [are] an asset class. I think it’s a technology that’s enveloping all asset classes now,” Dorman said. At tradfi, investors can specialize in products (e.g. bonds, equities, derivatives) or sectors (e.g. industrials, retail, real estate). But in web3, these categories have not been clearly defined because blockchain technology has been used in so many different ways, from file storage to selling digital art to tracking peer-to-peer money transfers.

That’s one of the reasons I think we can’t group “crypto” or “web3” or “blockchain technology” in the same bucket – even those three terms all have slightly different meanings. Perhaps that’s why sentiment on Consensus felt so amazingly positive despite the market turmoil. Every project is so different, and every builder is convinced of why their own use case for the blockchain makes sense and not like all the other projects that are declining in value or appearing like scams. At a time of so much uncertainty, the most important thing reporters and analysts can do is look at this industry with nuance and evaluate each project on a case-by-case basis. It’s going to be a wild ride, but I believe that at least some parts of web3 are here to stay, and I see it as my job not only to shed light on which uses of this technology work and which don’t, but to try and try make sense why.

TC+ analysis

Here’s some of this week’s cryptanalysis, available to read on our subscription service TC+ (written by TC’s Jacquelyn Melinek):

If Celsius Accelerates Crypto Selloff, Who Pays The Price?
This week, the global crypto market cap fell below $1 trillion for the first time since January 2021 after one of the largest centralized crypto lenders, Celsius, landed in hot water after suspending all withdrawals, exchanges, and remittances for users . The reason for the freeze is not entirely clear yet, but it led to another bankrun scenario similar to what we saw with the UST and LUNA situation last month – and it is causing another crypto market decline.

Hedge funds plan to buy more crypto amid a bearish market and potential regulatory clarity
What seemed like a rare sector is now gaining popularity as the number of specialist crypto hedge funds has grown to over 300 worldwide, according to PwC’s Global Crypto Hedge Fund report. These funds are “looking for alpha” to beat benchmarks and are willing to try something new and different, John Garvey, global financial services leader principal at PwC, told TechCrunch. Although markets are very volatile, two-thirds of all hedge funds surveyed currently investing in space plan to invest more capital in the market by the end of 2022, it said.

As DAOs continue to bloom, here’s how to keep yours from wilting
The past year has been a major growth spurt for DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations), but not everyone in the industry is confident that they are formed properly or in a way that guarantees success. But what happens when the hype dies down? People stop voting, treasuries can wither, and abandoned, dead communities become “DAO graveyards.” To prevent this, some say there needs to be a restructuring of how DAOs are formed.

Thank you for reading. You can receive this newsletter in your inbox every Thursday by subscribing TechCrunch newsletter page.

Luke and Anita

Down bad – TechCrunch Source link Down bad – TechCrunch

Related Articles

Back to top button