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DCG Tech Summit - Opening Remarks


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On Oct 27, 2017, Digital Currency Group hosted its third annual Tech Summit - three days of private events focused on bringing together our network of digital currency and blockchain tech focused founders, investors, and corporate strategics. These are the opening remarks presented by DCG's founder and CEO, Barry Silbert, regarding the progress the bitcoin and blockchain ecosystem over the last year, and what DCG is excited about looking forward. DCG's Investment Associate, Travis Scher, shares his outlook on ICOs and token sales. DCG's Director of Development, Meltem Demirors, highlights growth metrics across the digital currency and blockchain startup ecosystem and shares insights on the evolution of business models and ongoing challenges to startups in the space.

Published in: Technology
  • Must read if you are investing in this space.
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  • Brilliant stuff. Extremely impressed with how DCG is actually creating the ecosystem for the future of this industry. Very impressive.
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DCG Tech Summit - Opening Remarks

  1. 1. OCTOBER 27, 2017 Digital Currency Group 3rd Annual Tech Summit
  2. 2. 2 WELCOME At Digital Currency Group, we believe we are uniquely positioned to provide a platform to support the industry’s growth and evolution. An important part of this is building a robust ecosystem of investors, corporations, institutions, and other stakeholders who can be advocates, investors, and customers for companies.
  3. 3. OCTOBER 27, 2017 DCG Tech Summit Year in Review Barry Silbert, Founder & CEO
  4. 4. 4 We believe that digital currencies and blockchain technology are going to transform our financial markets and drive positive global economic and social change OUR MISSION It is our mission to accelerate the development of a better financial system We do this by building and supporting digital currency and blockchain companies and leveraging our insights, network, and access to capital
  5. 5. 5 DCG TODAY SUBSIDIARIES INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO DIGITAL CURRENCIES 110 companies across 28 countries; 50% IRR $200+ million in value $40 million annualized revenue; 130% growth year-over-year
  6. 6. 6 • C-Corp structure provides us with: • Flexibility • Opportunity to build a new investing/operating model • Permanent capital • Ability to raise money from strategic investors • Potential to take DCG public WE ARE NOT A VC FUND
  8. 8. 8 • Target 2-5% ownership at seed stage (invest up to $200k) • Focus on strategic life cycle investments (invest up to $500k in Series A, $1 mm in Series B) • Join syndicates with other professional investors • Back the very best teams in our target markets • Minimize conflicts of interest; no board seats • Opportunistically invest in tokens (up to $5 mm) OUR INVESTING STRATEGY
  9. 9. 9 • DCG portfolio has been the industry’s early VC pipeline • Continued success à continuing to build symbiotic relationship with professional investors DCG PORTFOLIO ANALYSIS Announced Deals (equity) $1.9 billion Mining Operators $160 million Consortia $107 million Non-Mining Deals $1.64 billion DCG Companies $1.14 billion DCG companies raised ~70% of industry funding to date DCG INVESTING SUCCESS Source: CoinDesk Venture Tracker data as of Oct. 26, 2017
  11. 11. 11 1. Core Infrastructure 2. Trading & Tools 3. Payments 2.0 4. Identity & Compliance 5. Blockchain Registry 6. Enterprise Blockchain 7. Other - Emerging Themes KEY INVESTMENT AREAS
  12. 12. 12 2017 PORTFOLIO ADDITIONS Core Infrastructure Trading & Tools Payments 2.0 Identity & Compliance Blockchain Registry Enterprise Blockchain Other Blockchain Coinjar POSaBIT norbloc Blokur Cobalt Nivaura Basecoin* SFOX Provenance OB1 Ledger Livepeer* Parity Stratumn
  13. 13. 13 • Trading infrastructure (“picks and shovels”) • Vaulting, custody, and compliance solutions • Cross border payment infrastructure • Digital currency as a speculative investment WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT
  15. 15. 15 CROSS BORDERS PAYMENTS VIA BITCOIN Cumulative Volume Source: Data provided by BitPesa, Bitso, Bitwala, and Wyre $0 $250 $500 Aug-15 Feb-16 Aug-16 Feb-17 Aug-17 Millions
  16. 16. 16 • Bitcoin Investment Trust holds ~1% of all bitcoin • Ethereum Classic Investment Trust holds ~3.5% of all ETC • Launching Zcash Investment Trust DIGITAL CURRENCY AS ASSET CLASS Grayscale Assets Under Management (AUM), $M Source: Grayscale data as of Oct. 26, 2017 $0 $600 $1,200 Dec-16 Mar-17 Jun-17 Sep-17 BIT AUM ETC Trust AUM
  17. 17. 17 • ICOs • 99% of the digital assets currently being traded • Decentralized token exchanges • Crypto funds WE ARE NOT EXCITED ABOUT…YET
  18. 18. 18 • China crackdown on bitcoin (yes, again) and ICOs • Scaling debate rages on • Everybody is making money -> everybody is a trading/investing genius • Over 100 crypto funds in the market raising capital • ICO overload – greed and reckless investing permeates the space • Huge disconnect in valuations between ICOs and seed/Series A financings • First Unicorns built – Coinbase & Ripple • “Experts” weigh in and declare bitcoin is [pick one: fraud/Enron/ponzi/bubble/tulip] • Massive transaction volume growth in South Korea, Japan, Mexico • Futures and derivatives markets opening up • Institutional investors starting to dig in, but not investing yet INDUSTRY STATE OF AFFAIRS
  19. 19. 19 REVIEWING 2017 PREDICTIONS 1. Bitcoin as a store of value re-emerges as key theme ü 2. Bitcoin becomes more accessible to retail and institutional investors via ETF(s) û 3. Cross border payments/remittance using bitcoin hits a $1 billion run rate û 4. Exponential bitcoin transactional growth in India, Japan & Middle East ü 5. Explosion of blockchain POCs focusing on supply chain ü 6. Identity solution competition heats up…but no leader emerges ü 7. SEC comes down hard on ICOs û 8. First >$50 mm M&A transaction ü 9. Micropayment models materialize ü 10. Bitcoin price on 12/31/17 = higher ü
  20. 20. 20 TOP TEN PREDICTIONS FOR 2018 1. Crypto funds raise over $1 billion 2. First IPO on a major global exchange 3. No ETFs get approved in the U.S. 4. First U.S. brokerage firm offers bitcoin access to customers 5. Large number of ICO tokens deemed to be securities by regulators -> rescission rights triggered 6. Regulators go after certain crypto exchanges for trading token “securities” 7. ICO market collapses (number of issuances, valuations) 8. Corporates start to abandon “blockchain” projects 9. Aggregate market value of digital currencies/assets exceeds $250 billion 10. Jamie Dimon capitulates and walks back his “bitcoin is a fraud” comment
  21. 21. OCTOBER 27, 2017 DCG Tech Summit ICOs and Token Sales Travis Scher, Investment Associate
  23. 23. 23 WHAT IS AN ICO/TOKEN SALE? The sale, typically a crowdsale, of a blockchain-native digital asset (a “token”), which confers the right to participate in a network or use a product or service Tokens typically do not represent equity in a business or explicitly provide any legal rights to the holder (though a token may still be deemed a “security” by regulators)
  24. 24. 24 BLOCKCHAIN VC V. TOKEN SALES $0 $700,000 $1,400,000 2016 2017 Q1 2017 Q2 2017 Q3 Thousands Blockchain VC Token Sales • The amount raised in token sales have blown past the amount raised by blockchain companies in traditional VC • In Q3, ~$1.25bn was invested in token sales compared to $155mm in blockchain venture deals
  25. 25. 25 TOKEN SALES V. GLOBAL SEED FUNDING $0 $700,000 $1,400,000 $2,100,000 $2,800,000 $3,500,000 $4,200,000 $4,900,000 $5,600,000 $6,300,000 $7,000,000 $7,700,000 $8,400,000 2016 2017 Q1 2017 Q2 2017 Q3 Thousands Token Sales Global Seed Funding • Token sales are approaching global angel/seed funding levels • In Q1-Q3, token sales have raised ~$2bn versus ~$6bn for angel/seed funding • That’s in 165 sales versus nearly 11,000 angel/seed round
  26. 26. 26 10 BIGGEST BLOCKCHAIN VC ROUNDS Position Company Total Raised Year Age 1 21 Inc. $116mm 2015 2 2 R3 $107mm 2017 3 3 Coinbase $100mm 2017 5 4 Coinbase $75mm 2015 3 5 DAH $60mm 2016 2 6 Circle $60mm 2016 3 7 Ripple $55mm 2016 4 8 Blockstream $55mm 2016 2 9 Circle $50mm 2015 2 10 Blockchain $40mm 2017 6 Total = $718mm
  27. 27. 27 10 BIGGEST TOKEN SALES Position Project Total Raised Year Age 1 Filecoin $257mm 2017 3 2 Tezos $232mm 2017 3 3 EOS $185mm 2017 <1 4 Bancor $153mm 2017 <1 5 The DAO $150mm 2016 <1 6 Kin $97mm 2017 <1 7 Status $90mm 2017 <1 8 TenX $64mm 2017 <1 9 MobileGo $53mm 2017 <1 10 Kyber $48mm 2017 <1 Total = $1,329mm
  28. 28. 28 WOW • The ten largest token sales have raised $1.33 billion, almost twice as much as the ten largest blockchain venture rounds • Eight of ten of the largest token sales were under development for less than one year at the time of the ICO (compared to 3.2 years for the venture rounds) • These eight raised an average of $105 million – more than 3x the median US growth equity round!
  29. 29. 29 DCG PORTCO TOKEN SALES - COMPLETED • 5 DCG portfolio companies (5.6% of active portfolio) have completed token sales • Collectively, those companies previously raised just $18mm in VC funding • Each raised at least $25mm, and together a total of $395mm
  30. 30. 30 DCG PORTCO TOKEN SALES – IN PROCESS • 12 more DCG portfolio companies are in the midst of or planning to do a token sale (13.5% of active portfolio) • These 17 companies (19.1% of active portfolio) are spread across 7 countries and 4 continents – it’s a global phenomena
  31. 31. 31 WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? • It’s cheaper and easier to create tokens using Ethereum and the ERC20 standard • Bitcoin and Ethereum have gained $100bn+ in market cap, and people are re-investing profits • Political trends around decentralization, privacy, and autonomy • Macro environment with lack of other attractive asset classes
  32. 32. Also: Hype, Mania, Herd Mentality, and Madness!
  33. 33. 33 IMPLICATIONS FOR VC’S • Displacement/Disruption/Loss of Opportunity? • Should you invest in tokens? • Should you invest in a crypto fund? • Should your portfolio company do an ICO? • What happens if your portfolio company ICOs?
  34. 34. 34 DCG’S PERSPECTIVE • We’re witnessing the emergence of a new asset class, but… o Huge amount of regulatory risk o No adoption of DApps, yet o Most projects are raising way too much o Governance structures are weak o Valuations/prices are insane!
  35. 35. 35 DCG’S PERSPECTIVE • We’re witnessing the emergence of a new asset class, but… o Huge amount of regulatory risk o No adoption of DApps, yet o Most projects are raising way too much o Governance structures are weak o Valuations/prices are insane! Conclusion: we’re cautiously optimistic, constantly learning, and investing very selectively
  36. 36. 36 TYPES OF PROJECTS • Global Currency/Store of Value (e.g., Bitcoin, Zcash) • Smart Contract Platforms (e.g., ETH, ETC, Tezos) • Decentralized Compute Resources (e.g., Filecoin, Livepeer) • Decentralized Exchange/Parachains (e.g., 0x, Cosmos, Polkadot) • Currency for Internal Commerce or Access (e.g., Decentraland, OAX)
  37. 37. 37 DCG’S TOKEN INVESTMENT FRAMEWORK • Mission-driven, high-integrity team • Benefits from being decentralization/being on a blockchain • Strong case for new token • Token distribution done compliantly • No uncapped notes, reasonable “implied market cap”
  38. 38. 38 TEN THINGS TO WATCH IN 2018 1. Real use cases – what will be first widely DApp/Appcoin? 2. Infrastructure development – decentralized exchange, custody, PoS, scaling 3. Stablecoin that works? 4. Valuation methodologies – any progress? 5. Projects that raised “endowment fund” – can they deliver on expectations? 6. Projects that stall – can they pivot? What happens to $$ if they give up? 7. User/partner/developer growth pools – do they work? 8. Enterprise adoption – will they touch tokens? 9. Security tokens – any benefit besides calling it an “ICO”? 10. Regulation – will the SEC pull the punch bowl?
  39. 39. OCTOBER 27, 2017 DCG Tech Summit Portfolio Growth & Development Meltem Demirors, Director of Development
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  43. 43. 43 BUILDING THE DCG NETWORK CORPORATES ACADEMIA INVESTORS REGULATORS INSTITUTIONS BLOCKCHAIN SERVICE PROVIDERS Invested in 100+ companies that have revenue, traction, and institutional investors Co-invested alongside over 800 investors, pipeline for early company deal flow Engaged with over 150 corporates around the world to provide insights and exposure Collaborated with the world’s leading academic institutions to support research and development Worked with institutions to educate, advocate, and drive adoption for social good Consulted by regulators, policy think tanks, and trade associations
  44. 44. 44 THE DEVELOPMENT FUNCTION NETWORK INSIGHTS ACCESS TO CAPITAL • Identify and engage critical stakeholders • Proactively build a network of allies and partners around DCG • Financial capital, driven via our network of co- investors • Human capital • Social capital • Aggregate and disseminate insights across portfolio • Use our perspective to create competitive advantage for our network
  45. 45. 45 OVERVIEW • Data from across the DCG Portfolio • Insights on evolving digital currency and blockchain business models • What we’ve done and what’s next
  46. 46. 46 A GLOBAL PORTFOLIO • The DCG Portfolio represents businesses in 28 countries • Portfolio operations span over 40 countries and continue to spread as companies open subs • US-based companies represent over 50% of the portfolio, but % has been declining over time • 9 of 15 new investments in 2017 were outside of US Africa 3% South America 7% North America 54% Europe 21% MENA 2% Asia 13% Geographic Distribution Interesting Facts
  47. 47. 47 STILL EARLY STAGE 0 20 40 Pre-Seed Seed Series A Series B Series C Series D • Portfolio 65% seed-stage last year, now less than 45% • More than 50% of the portfolio has raised follow-on capital • Increasing number of late stage deals – many based in US, but a handful in Asia and Europe • Majority of late stage companies are bitcoin focused – only 1 pure blockchain co past Series A Portfolio by Stage Interesting Facts
  48. 48. 48 A LOT OF HUMAN CAPITAL 0 25 50 <15 15 - 50 50 - 150 150 + Portfolio Employee Distribution Interesting Facts • 2,475 employees in portfolio– over 2,500 including DCG + subs • 50% of portfolio is still under 15 employees – lean and mean teams! • Only 9 companies with more than 50 employees – mix of later stage (Series B and beyond) B2B and B2C companies • Very few sole founders – strong affinity for founding teams
  49. 49. 49 GENERATING FINANCIAL CAPITAL 0 16 32 Pre-product Pre-revenue Revenue Breakeven Profit Portfolio Performance Interesting Facts • 68% of companies are making money, but relatively new trend • Most companies were not profitable 9 months ago – high correlation between profit and digital currency market cap • Companies that are not yet making money are mostly private blockchain / non digital currency companies
  50. 50. 50 GENERATING FINANCIAL CAPITAL Number of Employees <15 15 - 50 50 - 150 150 + Pre-product 7 1 Pre-revenue 11 7 Revenue 15 16 Breakeven 5 1 Profit 4 7 5 4 Portfolio Performance by Company Size Interesting Facts • Doesn’t take a lot of people or capital to be profitable right now • All companies over 50 employees are profitable, and directly interact with digital currencies • Most pre-revenue and pre-product companies focused on enterprise blockchain where sales cycles last 18 – 24 months
  51. 51. 51 BUSINESS MODELS CORE INFRASTRUCTURE IDENTITY REGISTRY ENTERPRISE BLOCKCHAIN TRADING & TOOLS PAYMENTS 2.0 OTHER Business Model Key Metrics Build broadly adopted software networks and software tools, become the standard for networking or services Number of users or nodes, market penetration or adoption, developer ecosystem, applications, git pulls, token distribution
  52. 52. 52 BUSINESS MODELS CORE INFRASTRUCTURE IDENTITY REGISTRY ENTERPRISE BLOCKCHAIN TRADING & TOOLS PAYMENTS 2.0 OTHER Business Model Key Metrics Charge a fee to provide a product or service, typically volume based or service level driven Number of customers, trading volume, trading revenue, trading profit, margin on traded volume
  53. 53. 53 BUSINESS MODELS CORE INFRASTRUCTURE IDENTITY REGISTRY ENTERPRISE BLOCKCHAIN TRADING & TOOLS PAYMENTS 2.0 OTHER Business Model Key Metrics Charge a fee to provide a payment product or payment service, typically volume based or service level driven Number of customers / transactions, retention, payment volume, payment revenue, profit margin
  54. 54. 54 BUSINESS MODELS CORE INFRASTRUCTURE IDENTITY REGISTRY ENTERPRISE BLOCKCHAIN TRADING & TOOLS PAYMENTS 2.0 OTHER Business Model Key Metrics Charge a fee to maintain and manage a data registry and read, write, or verify data, typically volume based or service level driven Number of records, customers, implementation or licensing fees, verifications or investigations completed, contract revenue, pay as you go revenue
  55. 55. 55 BUSINESS MODELS CORE INFRASTRUCTURE IDENTITY REGISTRY ENTERPRISE BLOCKCHAIN TRADING & TOOLS PAYMENTS 2.0 OTHER Business Model Key Metrics Uncertain – often resembles enterprise SaaS but with higher degree of up front consultation, design, and integration work Project-based revenues, implementation costs, licensing fees, volume based fees
  56. 56. 56 CONSISTENT TRENDS • Companies starting to find a useable business model and growing and scaling this model • Revenue across business models is growing 5-20% MoM, but reliance on key partners can set back progress • Most companies heavily focused on building and scaling customer acquisition strategies • Converting enterprise sales pipeline into revenue is an expensive and slow process
  57. 57. 57 BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR COMPANIES • Banking partnerships • Regulation and compliance • Making long term strategic decisions in an environment with a high degree of noise • Converting sales pipeline into ARR • Hiring at all levels of the organization • Changing the narrative around the industry / companies
  58. 58. 58 KEY EFFORTS IN 2017 • Scaled portfolio management process from 70 companies to now over 100, including companies raising ICO funds • Conducted multiple events with banks, regulators, and companies focused on driving collaboration • Grew enterprise partnership strategy, especially with IBM, AWS, and key corporate partners to accelerate sales cycles
  59. 59. 59 KEY GOALS FOR 2018 • Begin building ecosystems around protocols and their associated tokens leveraging broader DCG network • Focus on building banking alliance to help portfolio companies find, engage, and maintain banking relationships at scale • Further expand the DCG platform to maximize human, social, and financial capital accessible to our network