I’m stoked to share that I’m joining Archetype, an early-stage crypto fund committed to accelerating the decentralized future. I’ll be working closely with Ash Egan, Katherine Wu, Danny Sursock, and Nick Pai to back the next generation of crypto founders and to provide inception capital for companies that challenge the status quo of crypto.
The original promise of technology, and more specifically of the internet, is rooted in decentralization––open networks and the transparent dissemination of information. However, in the rapid emergence of a paradigm in which “software is eating the world,” we have largely ceded the stewardship of software to institutions that seek to instead consolidate this power.
From Josh Stark:
“The problem with software eating the world, is that behind most software is an institution. The internet we have reflects the shortcomings of institutional hardness. It is increasingly balkanized, carved up along nation-state boundaries. It is a fragile and unstable foundation, as the individual companies that control it rise and fall. And most of it is owned by a handful of companies, controlled by a small group of people, who live in one country.”
The promise of crypto, and blockchain technology at-large, is that it gives us tools to compete with traditional institutions, enabling us to coordinate anyone, anywhere, anonymously. This vision is deeply embedded in the history and culture of crypto. The Cypherpunk movement was ushered in by a group of just three Bay Area computer scientists, a mailing list, and a core conviction: the importance of a sovereign internet. They managed to both embrace the promise of the internet, while also anticipating the ways in which its power could be co-opted by centralized institutions.
Crypto’s use cases have evolved far beyond the original vision of the Cypherpunks, but its values remain strong to this day: transparent, permissionless, composable, community-owned.
Throughout its multiple cycles, crypto has driven the invention of truly groundbreaking technologies from electronic cash, to programmable blockchains, to NFTs, to DAOs, etc. But while every cycle sees new innovation, we also witness more institutions entering the space with the hopes of using the technology to replicate old structures that consolidate power. This is all to express that crypto, and technology in general, is not inherently “good” or “bad.” Instead, we must view it as a tool we may use to accelerate a shared vision of a just future.
For example, I’d like to a see a future that enables the following:
The exhilarating part about the world of crypto is that it is rapidly evolving every day. Don’t forget, the ERC-721 standard didn’t even exist until fairly recently. Crypto is able to progress so quickly because of its level of talent and its open-source culture. History tells us time and time again that the future is forged by builders. Founders, not blockchains, are architecting our collective digital future.
Like with the Cypherpunks, the future will be paved by small groups of folks with high conviction and a clear vision for what they want to see in the world. It’s true that in the past these small groups have often been elite and homogenous, but blockchain rails give us hope. The infrastructure to empower diverse, distributed communities of builders is stronger than ever before.
At Archetype, we are committed to surfacing and supporting founders with unique insights and perspectives on the future of crypto. This has been at the core of Ash’s investing practice since 2015, having been an early investor in now pillar companies in crypto and blockchain including Chainalysis, Balancer, Dapper Labs/FLOW, Bison Trails, and many more.
When I think of what kind of investor I’d like to be, the type of investor I believe that Ash is, I think of the philosophy of record producer, Rick Rubin––when he works with an artist, the goal is to not inject any of himself into the music or to leave any imprint, but to catalyze and nurture the artist so that they may create work that is the most true to themselves.
When I was at Coinbase Ventures, I had the incredible opportunity to see hundreds of companies and to have a high-level pulse of the ecosystem at large, but I was missing the opportunity to work side-by-side with founders. Now, I’m excited to narrow in, dive deep, and work on the ground with teams to accelerate their visions of the decentralized future.
Whether you’re noodling on an early idea or actively building with a team, I'd love to meet you––online or in NYC where Archetype is headquartered. You can reach me at email@example.com or on Twitter @katiewav.
I have always been, and will always be, people-first. Thank you to the communities, founders, friends, and mentors who have brought me this far in my crypto journey: KERNEL, Friends with Benefits, Sean Thielen-Esparza, Tina He, Jon Yan, Carl Cortright, Katherine Wu, Nick Kim, Ryan Yi, Steven Willinger, Jason Yeh, Brian Cho, and more.
More of my writing on crypto: katiewav.mirror.xyz
Writing that has been instrumental to how I think about crypto:
Atoms, Institutions, Blockchains by Josh Stark
Hyperstructures by Jacob Horne