A16Z to run Web3?

Bart Eggermont
4 min readDec 29, 2021

Is Marc Andreessen the spider in Web3?

had a go at Marc Andreessen at the end of 2021 in a Tweetstorm which resulted in Jack getting blocked by the VC on his own platform which is kind of ironic. But it seems Andreessen does not like to be told off and he also doesn’t shun the spotlight like most other Silicon Valley venture capitalists.

Most people do not really know him but he is a notorious figure with an interesting vision who does not shun risky and bold investments.

His essay from 2011 is still valid to this day and worth the read

“Software is eating the world”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111903480904576512250915629460

The browser, Netscape Navigator, he developed partly as a student earned him a cover on Time magazine in 1996 and also his first fortune when the company sold for 4.3 billion USD to AOL, even though it was outcompeted by Microsoft with their free Internet Explorer later on.

Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z)

The name of the VC angel investment fund A16Z is just the number of letters in between the first A and the last Z.

Since the rise of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies the company has been heavily investing in the space and has over 40 Seed and early-stage investments in the crypto sphere.

Andreessen Horowitz could be as powerfull in the new Web3 space as google and Facebook are in Web2

But not only do they heavily invest in startups, but he is also a major shareholder in Facebook, (now called Meta) and advisor to Marc Zuckerberg as well.

Andreessen Horowitz was also one of the biggest investors of Clubhouse, the hipe of the first Covid lockdown. But it seems to have lost a lot of its luster to the Twitter Spaces which also might explain some of the tension between Jack and Marc.

Crypto

Marc Andreessen is profiling himself as a crypto Visionaire building on the “software is eating the world” thesis and extrapolating this to blockchain technology.

Cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and blockchain are according to Andreessen (and of course myself) essential building blocks of the new decentralized internet which we are now referring to as WEB3.

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Comparison-of-Web10-Web20-and-Web30_tbl1_342774895
source Messari

So this is the new generation of the world wide web that started with passive websites to blogs and social media. A major argument for Web3 is that the Web2 version is controlled by a few big technological giants and that through blockchain everything will be decentralized and the power will end up back in the hands of “the people”.

https://twitter.com/jack/status/1473139010197508098?s=20

But Jack Dorsey, ex-CEO of Twitter is apparently not convinced. Even though he is a big Bitcoin proponent he is not convinced that the Web3 future is as free and decentralized as some claim it to be.

If Web3 is the future, which I believe it is then A16Z and Marc Andreessen could be as powerful as Google or FB and I guess that is what Jack was pointing out.

A16Z has invested over 3 Billion USD in crypto-related assets one of which was Coinbase which had a successful IPO this year. It is a risky strategy but that is also why they are angel investors and Venture capitalists.

The good thing about all this money flowing in is that they also want to protect their interests and as such are creating a lot of learning tools plus they have a big lobbying arm out in Washington educating the politicians and their staff on everything Blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Metaverse

Web3 is a relatively new concept and the Metaverse that is being built out is a big part of this. In this Metaverse, there should be no “ready player one” company that controls everything but blockchain would allow all these pieces to be created and run independently but still be bridged together into one big exiting new digital world mixed of AR, VR, or through the Neural networks of Elon musk.

We can see Meta, Apple, Microsoft, and Google investing heavily in the space and they will not be left behind.

So Andreessen has not won yet but on the other hand, do we really want any of these to win, or do we prefer the truly decentralized version?

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