Andreessen Horowitz, or a16z, expects more Libra competitors to enter the space, seeing “an opportunity for a new financial network.”
As the venture firm’s general partner Katie Haun told Bloomberg in an interview published June 1, a16z expects money to become largely digital in 10 years, akin to music, books and other things that have moved online.
Haun clarified that platforms like Venmo and PayPal are not a necessarily accurate example of digital money, since they rely on traditional banks’ IOUs. Instead, she outlined a crypto-related category called “internet money”, which includes Facebook-backed stablecoin project Libra and open-source payments network Celo:
“The third category is what we call internet money, and this is building off the idea of Bitcoin but it’s solving for limitations of Bitcoin. Here you’ve seen us make investments in projects like Celo and Libra. And we think there will be other entrants in this category.”
Other categories that Andreessen Horowitz invests in with its crypto-funds include Bitcoin (BTC), which Haun referred to as “a nice long-term store of value”, as well as established industry services like Coinbase and Anchorage.
When asked how many Libra-like projects she anticipates to see in the future, Haun replied:
“I can look at some parallels in traditional financial services. We see an opportunity for a new financial network. It’s not necessarily akin to a Visa or Alipay, because those are more limited, only people connected to these systems through their bank accounts can use them. We think of this internet money category as Visa 2.0.”
However, Haun acknowledged that Libra and other “internet money” projects are not currently ripe for mass consumption. “It’s not yet ready for prime time, but it’s getting there,” she said of the Facebook-backed cryptocurrency.
A16’z other crypto endeavors
Andreessen Horowitz has been active in the space this year. In May, it released a free online version of “Crypto Startup School,” its seven-week education course for industry entrepreneurs, as well as a report detailing the industry’s ”choppy yet consistent growth.”
In April, the company doubled down on crypto and blockchain, raising $515 million for its second crypto-focused fund.