startupsandecon.substack.com/p/you-dont-own-web3-a-coinbase-curse
"You Don't Own Web3": A Coinbase Curse and How VCs Sell Crypto to Retail the one where Marc Andreessen blocks me

Note: This is not investment advice and my investment disclosures are below.

Special thanks to my Ali Khan for running the scripts to grab and analyze pricing data. He’s looking for an internship so if you need a finance-y engineer, reach out!

Marc Andreessen’s been a bit thin skinned lately.

Is he worried that the jig is up?

Jack Dorsey has been all-in on calling out VCs for profiting from altcoins, even as they claim to push “decentralization.” That got me thinking: Marc Andreessen actually has a seat on Coinbase’s Board of Directors. Meanwhile, Coinbase lists his coins to the public. Isn’t that a conflict of interest?

I started to wonder what these coins’ performance really looked like long term, especially stacked up against Bitcoin and Ethereum - benchmarks that are hard to view and calculate.

If coins, especially VC-backed coins, consistently underperformed Bitcoin/Ethereum after listing on Coinbase, that says to me that insiders were waiting for a big, dollar-based exchange to list so they could sell - VCs taking profits at the expense of retail. Those insiders include venture capital firms like a16z and, incredibly, Coinbase’s own venture arm, which has a number of investments listed on Coinbase. Other exchanges like Kraken, FTX, and Gemini are also all active in venture, and have listed their own investments.

Why is this important and not just nerdonomics? First, Coinbase is like the New York Stock Exchange of crypto - a listing there is a huge deal, and usually leads to massive profits for everyone involved. But unlike the NYSE or NASDAQ, Coinbase gets to choose whatever assets they want, using their own process.

Second, a16z and Coinbase’s own returns are particularly interesting, given a16z is supposedly the best...

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