Andreessen Horowitz backs investor group NFT behind purchase of rare Wu-Tang Clan album – TechCrunch

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The crypto collective that bought Wu-Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” album and an NFT of the original Doge image has a new member: venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

The company told TechCrunch that it has invested in PleasrDAO, a blockchain-aligned group of a few dozen crypto investors who have teamed up to buy high-priced NFTs in recent months. The group’s purchases include the famous Doge Image which they bought for $ 4 million (1,696.9 ETH to be exact) and then split and sold to the crypto community (its current implied market cap is just above 100. millions of dollars). The DAO also paid some $ 5.4 million for a work by Edward Snowden and $ 4 million for the Wu-Tang Clan album.

A DAO (or Decentralized Autonomous Organization) is essentially a group formally organized around blockchain voting mechanisms to make decisions and invest capital.

A16z Crypto’s investment in PleasrDAO is not their first publicly announced bet on the type of organization. In October, the company invested in Friends With Benefits (FWB) DAO, which it valued at $ 100 million. Andreessen Horowitz did not disclose the size of his investment in PleasrDAO, although board member Santiago Santos clarified that his overall stake in DAO governance tokens was “less than 5%”.

Like many other crypto groups, PleasrDAO had a very singular ambition when it was created – to make an offer on a work by a digital artist, in this case one by please. Said work was an animated video ad for the decentralized exchange platform Uniswap. The group formed in March after crypto founder Leighton Cusack tweeted a link to the auction and asked, “Anyone want to create a quick DAO to bid on this ??? The group ultimately won the auction at 310 Eth (about $ 525,000 at the time) and all proceeds from the purchase were donated to charity.

“Very quickly, we thought, a lot of the smartest minds in DeFi are here – there’s an opportunity to really take this in an interesting direction,” Santos told TechCrunch. “I think over time the DAO grew to the point where we felt we needed more structure and hierarchy.”

The group has since continued to invest and expand its portfolio while aiming to discover new artists that it can support. Santos says his goal is for the group to become an NFT “Medici house” where many digital native artists can come and be initiated and discovered. “

“DAOs are almost the purest manifestation of what Web3 and crypto are like,” a16z generalist Ali Yahya told TechCrunch.

While a16z was in the early days of crypto, the rise of so-called “native crypto” investment funds operating closer to founder and developer networks in the space forced legacy companies like a16z to show themselves more. daring to support new groups like DAO. Andreessen Horowitz sees many areas where they can help PleasrDAO, including policy and regulatory concerns – an area where DAOs currently appear to operate in a gray area as an unregulated, pooled investment fund.

A16z’s bet on the group is, in many ways, a leveraged bet on NFTs, which the group has already bet heavily on. This year, the company has supported the NFT OpenSea marketplace, NFT Sky Mavis gaming giant, and NFT Royal music platform, among others. The company also anchored Meta4, a $ 100 million venture capital fund dedicated to buying expensive NFTs. These investments are made from the company’s massive $ 2.2 billion crypto-centric fund, which the company launched this summer.

“It’s easy to underestimate the potential of NFTs,” says Yahya. “It could very well be that NFTs are huge and that the total market cap of all NFTs is in fact greater than the market cap of fungible tokens.”

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