Wednesday, November 8, 2017

So, What Has Andreessen Horowitz Crypto Investee 21.co Been Up To?

Not much.
We've been following this one for a couple years (links below) and still can't figure out how they convinced investors to pony up $121,050,000 including the whopper $116mil., 13 investor Series B lead by A16Z (CrunchBase)

That B round closed on March 10 2015 and the next day Fortune reported:
Why March 10 was a big day for bitcoin
If January 4, on which the second-largest bitcoin exchange BitStamp was hacked to the tune of $5 million, was bitcoin’s “Bloody Sunday,” you could call March 10 its Fat Tuesday....

...On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that a secretive bitcoin startup called 21 has quietly raised $116 million in venture capital, from prominent firms including Andreessen Horowitz, RSE Ventures, and Khosla Ventures. That’s already more than any bitcoin startup has raised to date, including Coinbase, which has raised $105 million from investors including the New York Stock Exchange, and in January launched a much-anticipated licensed bitcoin exchange.

And all that capital has been raised by a company that still hasn’t announced publicly what it even does, or will do. CEO Matthew Pauker told the Journal merely that has company aims to “drive mainstream adoption of bitcoin,” which, of course, is a hope that almost all bitcoin startups have.
Consider this: In May 2013, when Coinbase raised $5 million in venture funding, it was then the largest-ever investment in a bitcoin startup. (And this was before the November 2013 all-time price peak.) When Coinbase announced a Series B round of $25 million at the end of 2013, it bested its previous high. For a company practically in stealth mode to have now raised $116 million shows obvious, sustained growth in VC faith in the technology....

.... On Tuesday it happened: for the first time since January the bitcoin price touched $300—or a few cents shy of it, depending on which price index you favor. (Bitfinex had the price hitting $300 at 11 a.m. ET and peaking at $303.96, while Coindesk had the peak at $300.94, and Winkdex didn’t list it above $298.)
The FT's Izabella Kaminska brought this abomination to our attention a month after the above and I couldn't resist some snark. Some months further along, in September of '15, more snark, this time directed at one of their consultants :

As Far As Whores Go, Larry Summers Seems To Have Become.... 
...the Whore of Babble-on.

Seriously, what does this crap even mean:
“The 21 chip adds a whole new dimension to bitcoin’s potential utility. At first we will be struck by the presence of a technology like embedded mining; eventually we may be struck by its absence...."
...Mr. Summers has joined Andreessen-Horowitz's Balaji Srinivasan at overfunded ($116 mil) bitcoin startup 21 Inc.

You can read a lot about Mr. Srinivasan in "The Silicon Valley Secessionist Clarifies His Batshit Insane Plan" or, for just a soup├žon, we have on offer, "Climateer Line of the Day: Uh Oh Andreessen Edition":
...Bitcoins are like “tulips you can send anywhere in the world in arbitrary quantities”.
-Andreessen Horowitz partner Balaji Srinivasan
Mr.Srinivasan may not be aware that, since ca. 1637 or so, tulips have not had the best connotation in the world of finance....
Anyhoo, here's the latest, from Coinspeaker, Oct. 31

21 Inc Rebrands Its Social Network Into Earn.com, Plans to Launch Tokens without an ICO 
21 Inc rebranded its social network into Earn.com. 21 Inc is a bitcoin startup, based in Silicon Valley, California.
Primary 21 Inc was aimed to provide its users mining chips that can be integrated into any device with access to Internet. The startup changed direction of its operation step by step, and rebranding showed that cryptocurrency could be used in social network.

Moreover, the main advantage and peculiarity of Earn.com is opportunity for users to earn money online. It can considered as “practical application of blockchain technology”.

According to the company’s blog post, “the idea behind Earn.com is that we’ve built a positive-sum social network, where every notification is an opportunity to earn money. This is quite different from existing social networks, where notifications are often distracting or even downright negative.”

Earn.com includes two types of accounts: users and senders. In order to become a user, it is necessary to create a public profile or to join lists in order to receive paid messages, or to “use an autoresponder to get people outside your network to pay for email replies”.

Earn.com ensures that senders can mail mass messages, and reply is more likely as recipients receive paid messages. “Empirically, we find that Earn.com senders get response rates >30% within 24 hours for $1 incentives, and >70% within 24 hours given $10 incentives.”

Today, only Bitcoin can be earned in Earn.com. However, Earn.com team states that they will create opportunity to earn any digital currency, beginning with a new token without an ICO.

The first step for such rebranding was made by 21 Inc in the beginning of 2017. 21 Inc. announced the 21 profile, a spam-proof replacement for a public email address and a simple way to monetize the internet presence....MORE
I've wondered if the investors ever kiddingly teased Mr. Andreessen about the fact that at today's $7463.75 quote for Bitcoin, the $116 mil., had it been put into the actual crypto at the $300 it hit Mar. 10, 2015, would be valued at $2.88 Billion.

Or maybe not so kiddingly?
Who knows, prediction is hard.
Snark is easy.

Previously:
March 2017
Remember 21.Co, The Andreessen Horowitz Investee In Search Of A Business?
...For $600 in bitcoin, you can spam all the partners at Andreessen Horowitz
It’s a perfect storm of Silicon Valley buzzwords: Get your hustle on by pitching Andreessen Horowitz’s big-name partners using bitcoin, and create the future of money while you’re at it.
That’s the offer from the bitcoin startup 21, founded by Andreessen Horowitz partner Balaji Srinivasan....
May 2017
Andreessen-Horowitz-backed 21 Inc Introduced 21.Co Lists

And a couple from Ms. Kaminska back in 2015:
 Sept. 23
21 (grams of digital coke)
56 comments

May 19 
21 Inc and the plan to kill the free internet
27 comments