True Ventures Digs Deeper Into Digital Assets, With Help From Former Homeland Security Lawyer


Many more investment firms are following #cryptotwitter than a year ago, but True Ventures isn’t necessarily one of them, suggests co-founder Jon Callaghan. As with hardware, synthetic biology, and many other areas where True made early and often lucrative bets, True was drawn into the world of digital assets in 2014 largely by founders he supported previously and who moved more and more into this brave new realm. . There are many. Callaghan says that of the 388 founders of True Ventures’ “active” portfolio, 55 are currently working in digital assets.

As he explains, “We always look at people, people, people, then the market, then technology.” With digital assets there is a relatively new facet, “which is the structure, which is totally different”. While some transactions may involve good old-fashioned actions, in other cases True “might buy token sell rights, and tokens are also different because they may have governance rights or voting rights. or acquisition or blocking, ”he says. Or maybe not.

Investing in some of these tokens, protocols, and DAOs – decentralized, autonomous organizations with no central leadership but rather a community organized around a specific set of rules – is not for the faint of heart. But that’s kind of the idea. Like many early investors in the space, Callaghan relies on a willingness to leap into the great abyss to produce outsized returns in the future. He compares investing in decentralized assets to a more traditional venture capital investment, with a major “asterisk”.

Of course, Callaghan is not crazy. While the company’s sponsors are thrilled that the early investments that made them nervous – including in Bitcoin and Ethereum – now seem prescient, the True team knows what they don’t know, which is why they are coming. to call on Gus Coldebella to focus on global public policy. and regulation.

Most important to True, perhaps, Coldebella was the legal director of the US Department of Homeland Security for a while, and he still has connections with regulators, which can be extremely helpful when trying to invest in. digital assets. .

Coldebella spent the past year as general counsel and chief compliance officer of Paradigm, the crypto-focused investment firm that is reportedly shutting down a giant new fund. He also spent just over a year at digital currency company Circle, where he served as the company’s chief legal officer.

Indeed, a large part of Coldebella’s considerable job at True will be to help the company – and its holding companies – navigate new and changing regulations as they are written and work closely. working with the company’s internal crypto team, which includes partner Adam D’Augelli; partner at John O’Connell law firm; Dave Balter, founder and CEO of the crypto analysis platform Flipside Crypto; and True entrepreneur and partner Kevin Rose, who also produces the hugely popular “Modern Finance” podcast.

He will have a lot of people to keep up to date. Among True’s many related bets, he poured money into the Ampleforth and Reflexer digital asset protocols (which built the Rai protocol); in the FutureSwap trading platform; in Art Blocks, a project that generates original works of art on the Ethereum blockchain; and in infrastructure software, such as Forta’s.

The biggest question that Coldebella will try to help answer True, of course, is how a venture capitalist intelligently and securely participates in something that isn’t even a business. And it’s a question “that’s not only relevant and critical to us and our funds,” Callaghan notes, “but it’s something that the SEC and global governments are also trying to figure out. “

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  • True Ventures Digs Deeper Into Digital Assets, With Help From Former Homeland Security Lawyer
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