Multicoin Capital 2021 Summit

Multicoin are best known for being very right and very early about Solana. Since I discovered them a year or so ago I’ve enjoyed their writing and they convinced me to invest in a few projects: Sol, Arweave, Helium.

Props to them for putting on a cool conference and pushing the content out in the open.

Here is a link to the youtube playlist for all these talks, and below are my notes.✌️

Introduction (Tushar, GP)

  • Link
  • They founded the firm in 2017. 15 full-time people now. They are not trying to trade beta, not to time
  • They call it open finance not decentralised finance. Because decentralisation is not a goal in itself — the goals are credible neutrality & open access.
  • Stablecoins crossed the chasm in 2021
    • $80B minted, and evident they will replace bank wires
    • Taken over from BTC as dominant quote currency for crypto spot & collateral for derivs
  • NFTs crossed the chasm the charm in 2021. Bringing blockchain & crypto wallets to the mainstream

Defining the Next Generation of Crypto Apps with Composability (Kyle, GP)

  • Link
  • Throughput is not enough. You need composability.
    • “A platform is composable if its existing resources can be used as building blocks and programmed into higher order applications”
  • “DeFi legos”. Composability is the main reason the TradFi people he speaks to think DeFi has a shot at replacing finance rails/plumbing
  • ETH got to where it is because it’s a single shard, single layer 1. But it won’t be in the future.
  • Solana ecosystem update. TLDR all the core pieces are there on the chain
    • 1,800 developers (made a commit to a repo for something that runs on sol).  This is a “forward-facing” metric in terms of implications
    • 1.5M WAUs on Phantom (top wallet)
    • 2.3M NFTs issued on Metaplex (NFT standard) (not a great metric as total volume and can be programmatically done)
    • $4.5B of stables on SOL, lots of fiat onramps
    • $2B invested in ecosystem in 2021, first project was Serum. Multicoin is only $100M of that (5%) (not counting SOL positions)
    • $15B TVL in Solana DeFi

Building blocks

  • CLOB. Central-limit order book. Underpins all financial markets.
    • Serum is not an application, it’s a framework. No frontend. 
    • BetDEX: decentralised sports betting
  • Borrow/lend: Oxygen, Jet, Port, Apricot
  • Derivatives. Teams building “decentralised FTX”. Perpetual contracts do 5-10x volume of spot, more popular because concentrate liquidity, can leverage, etc.
  • NFTs & social
    • Metaplex
    • Strata (helps issue social tokens). Plugs in for token-gated communities
    • Audius. 6M MAUs. Historically they were a distribution channel.
    • Dialect. Enables push notifications based on on-chain activity. People may want to send you messaging based on your historical activity.
    • Satelitte.im. Crypto-native discord.
  • Protocol is aiming to bring block time down from 400ms to 200-250ms over next 2-3 years. Speed of light around the world is 120ms

Future opportunities

  • 1. UXD a new stablecoin holding perfectly-hedged long-short contract, on e.g Mango. Has existed on Binance, FTX, etc, but has not yet existed on DeFi, was previously not possible without on-chain CLOB.
  • 2. Defi-native prime brokerage.
    • Big primes today provide 1. connection to all exchanges, 2. leverage, 3. cross-margin all positions
    • Marginfi: a new margin engine, can cross-margin across all positions.
  • 3. Sports betting. Imagining celebrities issuing social tokens, gated community with satellite, then sports-betting in there via BetDex
  • 4. Targeted fan engagement for creators. Artists could send a message (using Dialect) only to people who have listened eg 10 of their songs in the last 10 months.
  • 5. Decentralised record label. Record labels are in a lot of ways VCs. There are only 3 big record labels in US. No wisdom of the crowds, which is crazy because there’s a lot of signal for popular music. People become music curators and can be incentivised.

Creator Monetization with Roniel Rumburg (Co-founder and CEO of Audius)

  • Link
  • Roniel. Was at Kleiner. Did seed on Lightening Network.
  • Industry backdrop
    • Cost of producing content has declined precipitously.
    • Creators are vertically integrating their distribution. Going direct but they don’t own a stake in the tools they use to go direct, and they’re not composable
    • $43B revenue generated by music industry yearly, only 12% goes to artists (Citigroup report)
    • Too many intermediaries. Example: journey of a stream. Content goes to distributor, who puts it in streaming platform. End of quarter, reconciliation on how many streams happened, distribute payments based on where streams were from, goes to distributor & rights owners, then goes to you.
  • Audius is a fully decentralized music streaming protocol
  • Audius metrics today
    • 6M MAUs
    • 100 apps built by Audius community
    • Audius is one more distribution channel, complementary to others
    • Seeing some artists building their own client experiences (like Neil Young app)
    • Labels have been able to reinvent themselves with all technology shifts
    • They got a lot of artists invested early: Nas, Katy Perry, etc.
  • Can airdrop NFTs just to your fans. Can do play to earn mechanics for social tokens.
  • 80-90% of Audius users don’t know anything about crypto
  • Whitepaper

Crypto in the Browser with Brendan Eich (CEO Brave)

  • Link
  • Brendan’s background. When started Firefox, he says search deal with Google led Google into browsers.
  • Adtech intermediaries take 70% of the gross revenue of ads industry. Goal to disintermediate the ad system.
  • Blocking ads natively in Brave is an adversarial game / arms race. Brave do ML, web crawls, fingerprinting. They are injecting noise into fingerprinting data.
  • Traction. 1.6M verified creators. 46M MAUs. 8M BAT users.
  • Default network for dapps is now Solana. BAT will be multi-chain, wormhole bridge today ETH->SOL
  • Themis project: decentralised ad-exchange. Aggregator of your clickstream, mint zero-knowledge-proofs with it, using Palace from O(1) labs.  
  • They are looking at 1-click ecommerce in the browser, probably enabled by crypto.

A Walk Through The Metaverse with Matthew Ball

  • Link
  • Matthew Ball, legendary for his excellent writings on the Metaverse at https://www.matthewball.vc/
  • “If you believe the metaverse will be a place where an ever-growing share of time, labour, leisure, spend, wealth, happiness happens, then we would expect for many of the similar structures that we have in the real world to be there. And if they’re not, we wouldn’t lean in. Property rights, individual ownership of objects, relatively free movement of labour & capital.” – Matt Ball
  • 300M Americans watch an average of 5.5 hours per day of television. Average senior watches 7.5 hours.
  • Eve Online
    • Has been running for 18 years. Persistent, shared experience. Only thing being rendered are ships.
    • There are people who go undercover for years in competing factions to one day betray them!
    • But as we know graphical fidelity not there
  • FB and MSFT were squeezed out of the mobile era. FB now talk about openness: say they will allow sideloading, opening APIs, 12% cut on payments (IIUC). (But we don’t wanna have to take their word for it)
  • Video games $180B, Television $650B, Box Office $40B (so no, games industry people, games are not bigger than TV)
  • 3 primary computing waves. 1) mainframes , 2) PC era, 3) mobile & cloud. All 3 of those waves started from government / mega tech, then large companies, then SMBs, then prosumers, then consumers.
  • MSFT have the full stack for the metaverse. Gaming (studios, Xbox, PC platform, Playfab, Havoc), Azure, Bing Maps for Enterprise (largest drone-based map data), Simulation, Collaboration products (Github, Teams), XR (Hololens), Enterprise footprint. 

Building Physical Infrastructure With Crypto Networks

  • Link
  • Amir Haleem. Co-founder of Helium. Worked in gaming. Startup that built Battlefield 1942. Met Shawn Fanning from Napster.
  • Ariel Seidman, Founder of Hivemapper. Was at Yahoo.
  • Maps today
    • Google Maps have full coverage of the world. Throw money at the problem. Each car costs $500k, they have a fleet of airplanes etc.
    • Apple maps is a copycat, with less coverage
    • Openstreetmaps, only got enough data 10 years in in 2013.
    • With paid crowdsourcing, relationship becomes adversarial.

Hivemapper

  • Aim to build a crowsourced global map with dashcams and drones. Moving to a token model leveraging Helium (IIUC) in 2022. Token called Honey
  • Key part of the sell is saying that even if the Hivemapper co disappears tomorrow the mapping network will continue to be there.
  • Waze has 25k map annotators doing it for free for Google. Hivemapper excited to incentivise people.
  • Best performing market is Manila. Lots of word of mouth there. 

Helium

  • An economic model for building wireless networks
  • Previously were paying to install hotspots upfront but too much capex required, ROI wasn’t there. New crowdsourced model is from 2019 (they started the project in 2013)
  • 20-30% of his time still today is focused on regulatory compliance.
  • Traction
    • 370,000 hotspots on the network. 3M being manufactured.
    • 130k discord users. Lots of first-time crypto people. “Telco anarchists” who want to kill AT&T. They made it quite plug & play.
    • Volvo, Costco, Toyota now onboarded.
  • Will go into cellular / 5G after.
  • Cost-reduction enabled by these models. Lots of dreams about IOT but too expensive to build physical infra.

Utility NFTs & The Future of On-Chain Credentialing, with Harry Zhang (Project Galaxy)

  • Link
  • Interview with Mable Jiang, partner at Multicoin
  • Harry’s background: D.Live a Twitch on the blockchain (with goal of fairer economy). Got to 10M MAUs, but he says the timing was off.
  • Project Galaxy. Building infrastructure to power credentials data network. Enable curators to come in and curate credentials on-chain and off-chain.
  • Today there is no aggregated layer for querying credentials. All in silos of private cos like Experian.
  • Use-cases, they power NFT-based loyalty programs and other growth campaigns.
    • Can help people for example find their “1000 true fans”
  • Infra
    • They use TheGraph. Curators use the subgraph.
    • Use Alchemy to detect on-chain transactions with faster UX.
  • Can give voting power in DAOs to people who have certain credentials.
    • Module example: 10k addresses who deployed a contract to mainnet. Used for eg Alchemy to provide discounts.
    • They also have an oracle service (presumably to deliver credentials to smart contracts)
  • How to ensure data quality? Inspired from The Graph. You can buy shares in good credential data to earn a revshare later.

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