Venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) chose London as the site for its first office outside the U.S., saying the U.K. government is willing to create policies that encourage startups to pursue decentralization.
Menlo Park, California-based A16z plans to use the office, which will open later this year and be led by Sriram Krishnan, to invest in the crypto and startup ecosystem in the U.K. and Europe, it said Sunday.
The firm also cited its recent investments in U.K.-based companies, including leading a $43 million Series A funding round into blockchain-based computing resources for artificial intelligence platforms (AI) provider Gensyn, which was also announced on Sunday.
A16z's move comes as the U.K.'s crypto regulatory outlook is gaining clarity. The government plans to bring crypto into the realms of existing financial services regulation, an approach that is supported by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for crypto assets. There is some disagreement, however, from the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, which says crypto should be treated like gambling. That proposal has met with backlash by those in the industry.
"While there is still work to be done, we believe that the U.K. is on the right path to becoming a leader in crypto regulation," a16z said. "It is home to more 'unicorns' than Germany, France, and Sweden combined; to some of the world’s largest financial markets and pools of capital; and to highly-sophisticated, world-class regulators."
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed the decision, saying: "We must embrace new innovations like Web3, powered by blockchain technology, which will enable start-ups to flourish here and grow the economy."
A unicorn is a privately owned startup with a value of at least $1 billion.
A16z said it remains heavily invested in the U.S., where it will continue to push for regulatory clarity for crypto startups.
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