Keeping the Crypto Industry Bankrolled

A16z partner Chris Dixon spent the first half of the year boldly amassing a $4.5 billion fund. But when the crypto industry went upside down, he pivoted to quietly support promising ventures. That’s why he is one of CoinDesk’s Most Influential 2022.

AccessTimeIconDec 5, 2022 at 12:20 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 28, 2023 at 2:23 p.m. UTC

Cryptocurrency and Web3 evangelist Chris Dixon is a partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), one of the crypto industry’s leading VCs. There he has cultivated a reputation for having something of a Midas touch, leading a $25 million funding round for Coinbase back in 2013 that allowed a16z to ultimately amass nearly 20 million shares in the crypto exchange company. Those shares yielded a roughly $10 billion return when Coinbase went public in 2021. That’s a 60-times return on a16z's initial investment . And it's that deal that earned Dixon the top spot on Forbes’ Magazine 2022 Midas List in April.

Since joining a16z in 2012, Dixon has helmed the firm’s crypto arm, raising a massive $4.5 billion fund in May, just at the start of the crypto industry’s dramatic market downturn.

Then crypto winter descended and money dried up for most startups. But Dixon’s debut crypto fund has continued to distribute money to promising industry players, such as Uniswap and game studio Roboto Games. Dixon is using this tumultuous time to reinvest in earlier initiatives to eventually allow the crypto industry to grow when crypto spring eventually arrives. This year, Dixon announced plans to expand a16z’s Crypto Startup School by launching a spin-off accelerator program for entrepreneurs, demonstrating his commitment to the future vitality of the digital assets space. The original Crypto Startup School launched in 2020 as a seven-week entrepreneurship course for a group of 40 aspiring crypto business professionals, including the founders of Phantom and Notional Finance.

The launch of the new accelerator program is 12 weeks long and grants participants $500,000 in seed funding and access to mentors and advisers.

Dixon, a serial entrepreneur turned capitalist, got his start in crypto in 2012, after stints as an employee at eBay and as founder and CEO of product-recommendation company Hunch. Over the years he has closed deals with several other companies that have gone on to become prominent players in the digital assets space. Those companies include decentralized crypto exchange Uniswap and open-source blockchain Avalanche. In addition, he made a $7.6 billion investment into Dapper Labs, the creator of NBA Top Shot.


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Elizabeth Napolitano

Elizabeth Napolitano was a news reporter at CoinDesk.