RLY Venture Studio Launches With Fresh Backing From Paris Hilton and Marc Andreessen

SuperLayer’s debut comes as Rally community members debate the ecosystem’s decentralization plan.

AccessTimeIconOct 28, 2021 at 5:01 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:18 p.m. UTC
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Rally’s push to decentralize its social token infrastructure has yielded a spinoff crypto venture studio known as SuperLayer Labs run by the project’s co-founders and backed by the RLY token’s early venture capital supporters as well as new investors.

Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon, both general partners at longtime Rally backer Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), are among the investors in SuperLayer Labs, the new startup accelerator seeding independent consumer Web 3 projects that utilize Rally’s RLY token.

Essentially, SuperLayer aims to be for the Rally network what ConsenSys has been for Ethereum.

Rally is a blockchain network that allows internet creators such as streamers and artists to monetize their relationships with their fanbases. In August, its community members voted to split the ecosystem five-fold – into a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), a venture studio, a nonprofit, an affiliate and a corporation – in a bid to increase the project’s decentralization.

SuperLayer’s formal launch comes as some in the Rally community debate how decentralized the broader ecosystem really is. On Oct. 26, community member “Masongos,” who is active on the project forums, said Rally’s early investors and team members control over three-quarters of the RLY token’s circulating supply.

That’s “more than double their intended share of the final economy,” the user wrote. “The decision to sell off such a large portion of the economy left the Rally platform in a state where it operates somewhere between a decentralized ecosystem and a centralized start-up.”

Masongos said RLY’s tokenomics could have consequences for project governance, profits and incentive programs. The user called for changes to RLY’s distribution scheme.

On Thursday morning, Rally co-founder Kevin Chou said in response that he was “100% supportive” of the proposed changes and would “personally commit” to fixes.

He was unavailable for an interview prior to press time.

New investors, old leadership

Paris Hilton, Quantstamp CEO Richard Ma, investor Packy McCormick, former football great Joe Montana, entrepreneur Brit Morin, rapper (and early Coinbase investor) Nas, talent agency veteran Michael Ovitz and newsletter writer Lenny Rachitsky are new backers of SuperLayer, the press release said.

SuperLayer Chief Product Officer Saad Rizvi is also new to the ecosystem. He is the only newcomer among the venture studio’s leadership.

Chou and co-founder Mahesh Vellanki will run SuperLayer, according to the press release. Rally’s former general counsel, Ira Lam, is its top lawyer. Gary Coover, the chief operating officer, has been helping shape the formation of Rally’s DAO since August, according to project forums.

Major token holders approved the appointments in the August vote. The vote also granted SuperLayer millions of dollars in RLY tokens to invest in Web 3 projects that utilize the token.

It will soon start deploying $25 million – a combination of money authorized in the August vote and checks from the new investors – in an attempt to fund projects building on RLY.


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Danny Nelson

Danny is CoinDesk's Managing Editor for Data & Tokens. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.

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