The first half of 2021 proved that blockchain & related distributed technologies have expanded beyond infancy into many industries and today’s applications. The third quarter has further this by redefining industry themes of regulation, new payment rails, mining, increased adoption of digital assets, the future role of central banks, and the potential looming environmental impacts.
Today, I’m excited to share with you that we’re now seeing 1,400+ companies concentrating on developing the required infrastructure layers that are powering today’s industry and the applications of Web 3.0. Furthermore, year-to-date in 2021 alone, we’ve seen over $15 billion invested throughout the companies listed in the landscape, along with over thirty $100M+ funding events and 10 NEW venture capital funds with fresh capital to bet on the industry’s future.
Venture Capital & Funding:
The first half of the year brought over $15 billion invested in 273 deals, minting double-digital unicorns. Both of the first two quarters saw around five billion dollars invested in each. Congratulations to FTX, Fireblocks, Makersplace, LivePeer, Stronghold Mining, Valora, and Messari on their recent fundraising and Jump Trading on the acquisition of CertusOne.
In the transiting months between Q2 & Q3 2021, I tracked the launch of more than twenty-five new venture funds. In July alone, over $850 million worth of fresh venture capital was introduced mandated to invest throughout the industry. With this landscape update, we welcome new investors, Acrylic, MOVE Capital (focused on the Near Protocol ecosystem), Audacity Fund, and many others, to the landscape.
While I’m monitoring over 450 individual investment firms from traditional venture capital to CVCs, asset managers, and hedge funds to DAO syndicates, there are whose remain more aggressive than others. This quarter’s update highlights the leading venture capitalist as Digital Currency Group (DCG), Coinbase Ventures, Pantera Capital, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z + a16z Crypto), and Polychain Capital.
Major Q3/Q2 Themes
The last forty-five days have been not only a wild rollercoaster ride for the industry but a future-defining one at that. In this period, we’ve seen five core strengthening themes sandwiched between the industry’s impact on the environment (enter the ESG debate) and our drive towards a digital economy within metaverses.
Payments are one of the most significant areas we saw in terms of themes and disruption. The last forty-five days have seen more activity than in the past two years. Headlining this quarter was a massive back and forth between two of the most prominent payment processors and companies out there — Visa and MasterCard. Together they’ve been in an all-out battle to see who will lead the payment infrastructure of Web 3.0. For example, in the Australian market, both Visa and MasterCard have partnered with early and slightly late-stage companies to implement debit cards used for digital assets transacting and payments. Here’s a small sampling of the headlines we saw:
Square takes leads as they acquire Aferpay (by now, pay later), begin building a new developer platform along with a hardware wallet for Bitcoin. Coinbase Card is added to Apple Wallet & Google Pay. Paxos releases a Bitcoin payments tool for businesses. NCR Corporation & NYDIG partner to enable 650 U.S. banks and credit unions the ability to offer Bitcoin purchases to an estimated 24 million total customers. SWIFT Go becomes live with seven banks including BBVA & BNY Mellon. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) receives more than 300 applications for crypto payments & exchanges within the country.
I’ll be further covering the topic of Mining, Digital Assets, Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), and the rapidly changing Regulation themes along with their impacts throughout the week. You can get a preview of each in the webinar recording where I also provide a full breakdown of the industry, along with an in-depth overview of the landscape map, significant H1 2021 trend analysis, new companies to watch, areas of opportunities for building, in market use-cases, predictions for the remainder of 2021, and a blueprint for building a company or decentralized applications (DApp) in 2022.