Announcing Our $1 Billion Raise & Ideas We Are Looking to Fund

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March 1st, 2022

We raised $1 billion to fund crypto networks, Web3 protocols, and blockchain-enabled businesses.

We Provide Crypto-Native Support

We are long-term investors and partners to our founders. We have spent the last four years building software and data systems that enable us to participate in Web3 ecosystems. We use the infrastructure we have built to provide liquidity, drive key governance proposals, help teams better understand their ecosystems with our data, and more.

We Invest $1M to $20M in Programmable Money & the Web3 Economy

Since 2018, we have been investing in “programmable money”. We believe that crypto enables a parallel, programmable financial system. Now, a new economy is developing on top of the programmable money stack — DeFi enables permissionless access and innovation, NFTs are digital-native assets, DAOs create a way for communities to allocate resources, Decentralized Infrastructure provides alternatives to centralized tooling, and more. In this article, we outline the key trends we believe will emerge and are looking to fund as the Web3 economy develops.

5 Key Trends in the Web3 Economy

We believe five key trends are emerging:

  1. DAOs will empower global communities to allocate resources to initiatives large and small.
  2. NFTs will form the asset layer for Web3 and the bedrock for new types of financial instruments.
  3. Decentralized Finance will democratize access to financial products around the world.
  4. Decentralized Infrastructure will allow engineers to build the next generation of applications without a central point of failure or control.
  5. Accessible user experiences will onboard millions of users to Web3.

Here are some ideas we are excited to fund in each trend:

DAOs

Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) are internet-native organizations. DAOs have the potential to acquire customers, investors, and contributors in minutes instead of months, acquire bank accounts in seconds, make decisions transparently, and more. We will see increased experimentation in DAOs in the next year, from tweaking governance structures to finding new ways to incentivize contributors.

Specific ideas we want to fund:

  • Merit-based systems to onboard new members — DAOs will become organizations that attract talent on par with the best companies. Many people join DAOs through a token purchase, but this cannot ensure that the most talented or most prolific contributors join. We want to fund mechanisms that allow more people to onboard onto DAOs based on merit.
  • Governance aggregators — People have trouble tracking and prioritizing new proposals, especially across multiple DAOs. We want to fund platforms that aggregate and surface proposals in a way that allows members to participate more easily.
  • Mechanisms to improve distributed decision-making — Today many decisions are made by those with the greatest number of tokens. We need mechanisms to not only increase the number of participants, the level of engagement, but the ability to solicit engagement from the right people.
  • Compensation mechanisms — DAO contributors need fair and transparent compensation. One effective way to compensate contributors for their work today is through DAO-issued bounties on platforms like Layer3. Contribution to DAOs can be on-chain, off-chain, one time, or recurring. As DAOs grow in complexity, these contribution types will also grow and evolve. We want to fund projects that allow DAOs to distribute compensation fairly and openly for all types of contributors.
  • DAO discovery platforms — The rate of DAO creation is growing exponentially. The largest DAOs control a treasury of billions in value, give out grants, and employ large teams. In contrast, the smallest DAOs can be a small group who have pooled resources to purchase an NFT. We need platforms that allow more users to discover and explore DAOs that fit their needs and interests.
  • Recruiting platforms — DAOs need the ability to tap into talent networks and expertise. Platforms like Rabbithole enable users to start earning credentials that DAOs can use to verify talent, just as we use diplomas and certifications to ascertain expertise and experience. We are looking to fund different projects throughout the recruiting pipeline that can help DAOs identify and recruit the best talent.
  • Treasury management — Today, DAOs can have complex treasuries that include a mix of different types of tokens and stablecoins. DAOs have the challenge of effectively managing their treasuries with distributed decision-making. Organizations like LlamaDAO are experts in creating proposals and helping DAOs walk through treasury decisions. We want to fund more economic tools that empower DAOs to effectively grow and leverage their treasuries.

Initiatives we’re proud to support in this vertical:

DAO creation platforms like Syndicate, talent entry points like Rabbithole, DAO-focused bounty systems like Layer3, platforms for DAOs to complete engineering work like Gitcoin, and financial tooling for DAOs like LlamaDAO.

NFTs

NFT art is just one use case of this new primitive. NFTs can represent credentials, memberships, financial positions, baskets of assets, tickets, music, in-game items, real estate, social networks, identities, and many more. Despite billions of dollars transacted each month in NFTs, we are still in the early stages of unlocking NFT use cases.

Specific ideas we are excited to fund:

  • Pricing mechanisms for NFTs — Accurately pricing NFTs is a challenge. The lack of pricing creates two problems: (1) most NFTs do not have liquidity, and (2) financial derivatives cannot form on top of NFTs. Projects that enable us to accurately price NFTs will unlock new use cases and greater adoption.
  • Infrastructure to support NFTs as productive assets — Currently there are two mechanisms of capital generation through NFTs: (1) generating yield through rental, lending, etc., or (2) revenue sharing through royalties and splits. Both these mechanisms are in their infancy. As this space matures, we expect to see music NFTs that split royalties with fans, Hollywood movies that share revenue back to NFT-based characters, and the ability to lend or rent the cash flow on these NFTs. We believe verticalized infrastructure to support these types of productive NFTs will be some of the most important platforms in Web3.
  • Discovery platforms — It is difficult to discover NFT collections or find out about new mints. Effective discovery platforms will increase the adoption of NFTs and allow more people to find their niche.
  • NFT financial derivatives — Like assets in the real world, we believe NFTs will have futures markets, options for hedging, insurance, and other types of financial derivatives. Financial products built on top of NFTs will make NFTs more useful.
  • Creator guilds — We believe creators will leverage NFTs for monetization and use them to mobilize their fans. Today, however, there is a lack of best practices and infrastructure for creators to use NFTs. We believe creator guilds may allow creators to share resources like community managers, playbooks, and fan bases.
  • Verticalized secondary marketplaces — When NFTs can represent anything from music to metaverse land to credentials, new marketplaces will emerge to support the specific needs of each type of NFT.
  • Physical to digital bridges — NFTs can be digital representations of the physical world. We believe we will see more generalized mechanisms to get a physical asset by burning a digital one, event ticketing systems that leverage NFTs, NFTs as immutable storage of medical records, course attendance, identification, and more.

Initiatives we’re proud to support in this vertical:

Curation platforms like JPG, social platforms like Hyype and Myty, and lending and trading marketplaces like Taker Protocol and 4k.

Decentralized Finance

DeFi has evolved from a set of experimental financial services built using smart contracts to mature protocols handling billions of dollars. We see the ecosystem evolving onto multiple blockchain platforms and democratizing access to sophisticated financial instruments.

Specific ideas we are excited to fund:

  • Growing DeFi on non-Ethereum chains — Ethereum presents a unique set of tradeoffs between security, speed, and decentralization. Non-Ethereum chains may be a more affordable onramp for the next wave of users into DeFi. We see significant opportunities in building DeFi services for these new users.
  • Bridging yield opportunities across chains — As more users onboard onto alternative chains, they will want to access potential yield opportunities on other chains. Similarly, Ethereum users will want to access yield opportunities by providing capital onto new chains.
  • Simple exposure to complex strategies — Platforms like Ribbon simplify complex options strategies. We want to fund platforms that give users simple exposure to strategies like delta-neutral yield farming, leveraged market making, downside protected lending, and others.
  • Novel mechanics to bootstrap protocol owned liquidity — As more protocols launch and grow, the need for bootstrapping mechanisms will increase. We believe there will be new, innovative bootstrapping mechanisms as new protocols launch.
  • Payment streams and vesting — Standardization of payment streams in crypto would unlock many use cases: employment contracts, vesting contracts, DAO-to-DAO contracts, and even unsecured lending.

Initiatives we’re proud to support in this vertical:

  • Accessible DeFi solutions like Kresko
  • Algorithmic stablecoins like Frax
  • Crypto-native exchanges such as DerivaDEX, dYdX, Hashflow, Saddle, and Slingshot
  • DeFi credentialing systems like ARCx
  • Lending platforms like Sublime and Swivel
  • Liquidity aggregators like Tokemak
  • Liquidity management systems like Gamma
  • Options protocols like Primitive and Zeta
  • Privacy solutions like Anoma
  • Protection protocols like Cozy

Decentralized Infrastructure

To realize a decentralized future, infrastructure will need to allow applications to be truly distributed. We want to fund projects that address the unique challenges of building decentralized applications, enabling developers to build applications without centralized points of failure.

Specific ideas we are excited to fund:

  • Verified frontend hosting –The BadgerDAO hack resulted in $120m lost funds because hackers inserted malicious code into the dApp frontend even though the smart contracts were completely secure. Verified frontend hosting will help ensure that when a user is interacting with a dApp through their web browser, it is the securely built official version. Services such as these will lower the security burden on developers and improve usability and trust.
  • Decentralized computation — AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud are all key players in the tech stack of dApps today while also being major sources of centralization. We are starting to see the unbundling of computation from those services with specialized networks focused on indexing, running background tasks, storing public/private data, and serving RPC requests. For example, if developers can build a docker container that can express their business logic, they could run it on a decentralized network and serve the result of that computation.
  • Zero-knowledge developer tools — Zero-knowledge technology is not only useful for private payments and rollup validity proofs, but also useful for interesting new use cases like games. For instance, many games require some game states to be hidden: a poker hand, inventory in a MMORPG, fog of war, and more. In traditional games, private state is held server side and the user’s client displays that state. Privacy tech like zk-SNARKs and developer tooling around privacy solutions is a prerequisite to building incomplete information games out in the open.
  • Security review on every commit — Close to $200B in assets are locked on chain in DeFi protocols. Security of assets on chain will become more important because of the immutability and trustlessness of blockchain. We want to fund tools that can review security during development.

Initiatives we’re proud to support in this vertical:

Authenticated commit systems like Radicle, bug bounty systems like Immunefi, identity and user owned data solutions like Spruce, decentralized computing solutions like the Internet Computer, and formal verification solutions like Certora.

Broadening Access to Web3

Web3 can be inaccessible to mainstream users, making it difficult for the next wave of use cases to emerge. We want to fund projects that make Web3 usable for mainstream users.

  • Crypto-enabled games with an interoperable backend — Crypto-enabled games have the potential to create user experiences superior to that of traditional digital games. With a fully interoperable backend, anyone can easily build plugins or mods into the game or be able to trustlessly fork the game, thus evolving game experiences quickly. We want to fund games that leverage unique aspects of crypto-rails to create fun games not possible in traditional gaming.
  • Mobile DeFi experiences — Most DeFi apps are optimized for desktop experiences today, leaving out user bases who operate on mobile. The verification and research necessary to participate in DeFi today limits it to primarily desktop browsing experiences. Mobile app developers are also beholden to centralized app stores, which may block DeFi experiences. However, as complex DeFi strategies become more simply packaged and as security and verification processes get better for wallet connections, we want to fund DeFi experiences that can be accessible to more users.
  • Multichain wallets that verify contracts — As crypto evolves, new challenges emerge. For example, the rise of multiple types of Layer 1s has created new usability challenges, such as difficulties in moving assets between chains or accessing multiple chains with a unified wallet. We want to fund wallets with infrastructure to provide smooth user experiences, like verifying contracts before connecting or integrating with multiple Layer 1s.
  • Earning crypto — Fiat onramps have two key issues that exclude important user bases from accessing crypto: (1) many people do not have money to put into crypto, and (2) centralized exchanges will not support fiat from every country. We want to fund bounty protocols, task platforms, play-to-earn, and merit-based on-ramping mechanisms that will make crypto accessible to everyone.

Initiatives we’re proud to support in this vertical:

Low-fees, high-throughput platforms like Aurora and solutions for people to access crypto through traditional financial rails like Bitwise, Bitnomial, and Kraken.

How to Get In Touch

The most creative ideas may be ones we have yet to imagine. This is an incomplete list of ideas we want to fund. We welcome conversations with early founders building in Web3.

You can get in touch with us through emailing info@electriccapital.com.

This Content is for Informational Purposes Only

You should not construe any such information or other material as Investment, financial, legal, tax, or other advice. Nothing contained in this publication constitutes a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement, or offer by Electric Capital or any third party service provider to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments in this or in any other jurisdiction in which such solicitation or offer would be unlawful under the securities laws of such jurisdiction.

Any forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties, which change over time. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of current or future results. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in forward-looking statements and future results could differ materially from historical performance.

Reference of any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and does not constitute an investment recommendation. Digital investments are speculative, involve complex instruments, and carry a high degree of risk. Such investments generally involve additional risks including limited transferability of investments, less investor protection, and less information to investors than would apply in major securities markets. An investment should only be made by those persons who could sustain a loss on their investment.

We may have previously held, currently hold, or will in the future hold tokens in some of the projects mentioned in this publication. We do not short tokens. Nothing in this publication should be construed as financial advice.

For more information, please visit electriccapital.com.

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