next2.png

Thesis

Thesis White NEW 202201.png

We evaluate startup companies as complex, adaptive systems on a case by case basis. At the same time we developed a thesis to articulate what we care about most and where we see outsized opportunities for entrepreneurs. It serves us as a high level framework of thought. As societal and technological inflection points continue to form, so does our thesis.

Navigating the transition to the open economy.

Software has been eating the world and it’s now coming for the public sector - starting with money and finance but expanding further from there.

We believe that new, technological paradigms such as digital scarcity, smart contracts, open data or privacy preserving computation will be used to reshape the very fabric of our societies. Incentive based internet protocols will coordinate labor and capital at global scale without the need of top down decision making. Industrial age institutions in e.g. (central) banking, legislation and law enforcement as well as education or healthcare will be replaced or augmented the 21st century's challenges.

True content ownership in the form of NFTs and micro-payments can help us fix the web's original sin - monetizing human attention - which caused mass surveillance, social media addiction and election hacking among other side effects.

In a world of stakeholder owned software networks we have the opportunity to re-invent the corporation through self enforcing laws written into code. Based on such rules shares in a network can be distributed to users and contributors for labor in a transparent, automatized way. Income equality can be increased by coupling labor and access to productive assets more tightly. Imagine early google users would have been programmatically rewarded with company shares for every search operation they undertook or every back-link they set. Imagine every facebook user would have been rewarded with company shares for every post, new connection or group moderation she initiated. This is what crypto networks are capable of.

 

As a whole, stakeholder owned software networks will compose an alternative economy which is vastly automated, transparent and accessible for everyone with an internet connection. We call it the open economy.

The open economy holds the potential to benefit the collective by broadening access to markets, data and knowledge while enhancing privacy and ownership for the sovereign individual.

As a venture firm we have to see things as they are and not how we wish them to be. We are aware of the open economy being in its infancy stage which comes with many existential risks but also asymmetric upside. Hence, we are continuously trying to identify profound long term trends based on technological assumptions around technological progress, adoption cycles, external risks (e.g. regulation), market sizes and problem scopes among others.

 

Open Money

Bitcoin is the nucleus of the open economy marking the beginning of the end of fiat money. Over a few decades it will increasingly separate money, private property rights enforcement and financial services from nation states. As many projects in this category optimize for different features such as neutrality, programmability, privacy or performance we apply a probability weighted approach to investing.

Open Finance

 

Since 2016 we are witnessing the rise of a superior financial system. It is politically neutral, accessible for everyone and orders of magnitude more efficient than the legacy system. It is composed of modular and expandable building blocks (aka money legos). Their interoperability allows for a cambrian explosion of innovation of financial technologies across the board. We believe that digital assets (virtual land, user owned media assets, crypto currencies etc.) will be the primary drivers of adoption with the highest utility. Assets intersecting with legacy systems (tokenised real world assets) face higher complexity due to regulatory fragmentation and will follow later in the adoption curve.

Open Data

 

As much as Bitcoin separates money from state and open finance separates financial services from banks, the open web is decoupling data from applications. This allows for faster innovation on both ends of the stack and leaves users as well as developers with a much richer design space and increased data sovereignty. Users will interact with modular systems coming with open data graphs and thousands of different clients to chose from. Digital identities including social graphs, community contributions (badges), messages, transaction histories and much more will be portable to various interfaces allowing for privacy preserving access control, computation and data sharing.

Open Media

 

The convergence of finance and data legos will power an internet renaissance. Software applications across the board will be engineered in reverse: data assets (mostly in the form of dynamic NFTs) will incentivize and drive the creation of new applications around them. Content of all sorts will be underpinned by digital property rights and become user owned - pictures, videos, live streams, tweets, everything. The metaverse will be built on a set of emerging technologies - XR interfaces, crypto based coordination and business models (x to earn), AI based content generation. We couldn't be more excited about what's to come in this category.

 

Open Organizations

 

With the exponential growth of internet communities gathering around shared values, monetary systems and social contracts we expect deep innovation in organizational design.

DAOs with minimal attachment to the world of corporate laws will flourish and allow strangers across the world to coordinate trustfully. This is likely to take a decade or more given the inherent challenges around social coordination and scalable decision making are even harder to overcome than current technical limitations. Long term we expect those social experiments to loop back into the physical world to explore more resource efficient governance models.

Many of our recent investments fit into this thesis and we're excited about using it as a guide to shape our future portfolio. If you are an entrepreneur building the open economy please reach out.