Billions of dollars have been devoted by Andreessen Horowitz to the cryptocurrency industry. But not every investment made by the fund has turned out well.
A16z Backed’s Failed Crypto Projects: A Memoir
By making profitable stakes on early industry leaders including Uniswap, Solana, and Sky Mavis, Andreessen Horowitz became known as a crypto heavyweight. In May 2022, the company also unveiled a record-breaking $4.5 billion cryptocurrency fund, demonstrating its dedication to blockchain technology. But occasionally even the biggest names in Silicon Valley make bad financial decisions. Here are a handful of the top crypto ventures that Andreessen Horowitz has lost money on in recent years.
OpenBazaar and Andreessen Horowitz
An early cryptocurrency project with ties to the Bitcoin black market was called OpenBazaar. With bitcoin payments, the project aimed to build a decentralized peer-to-peer marketplace for products and services, similar to an open-source eBay.
As part of a Toronto Bitcoin hackathon in April 2014, OpenBazaar was created by Bitcoin developer Amir Taaki and a team of programmers from the firm Airbitz. A new group of developers acquired the code and renamed it as OpenBazaar when the project’s original authors abandoned it. The first release date was April 4, 2016.
Diem was Facebook’s response to the rising demand for bitcoin payments, and it quickly attracted strong backing from Andreessen Horowitz and other influential figures. In June 2019, Facebook unveiled Diem as Libra, promoting it as a mechanism to transmit money across its assortment of social media platforms without depending on third parties or difficult currency translations.
The project was slated to function on a permissioned blockchain-based system developed by the company’s developers and was intended to be a stablecoin linked to the dollar. Prior to Facebook’s meta redesign in October 2021, when it declared a shift toward the Metaverse, it changed its name from Libra to Diem in December 2020.
Supporting BitClout and Nader Al-Basis Naji’s
The two companies Basis and BitClout make up the last Andreessen Horowitz investment disaster on our list.
The first is Basis, a decentralized, algorithmic stablecoin initiative co-founded and directed by Nader Al-Naji, one of cryptocurrency’s most notorious businessmen. With the help of on-chain auctions that produced “bond” and “share” tokens to modify the Basis supply, the project attempted to maintain the dollar-pegged status of its Basis stablecoin. The goal of Basis, according to its mission statement, was to build a “better monetary system” that was more resilient to hyperinflation, decentralized, more robust than the current systems for transferring money.
The project, which served as inspiration for subsequent unsuccessful stablecoin efforts like Basis Cash and Terra, was an early attempt to create a stable, unbacked, dollar-pegged currency.