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Justice for OpenSea – TechCrunch

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Team! Happy saturday. I’m writing to you on Friday afternoon, so I hope you’re not at your desk. We’re having fun today, so please read this from the couch.

Well-known Wildeism says that friends stab you in the front, which is true enough that the quip is worth remembering. This has occurred to me over the past couple of weeks as I reflect on Coinbase’s recent decision to jump into NFT gaming.

A few facts will help detail why the Wilde reference matches the moment:

  • A16z co-founder Marc Andreessen sits on the board of Coinbase, a company his company supported before it went public.
  • a16z LED OpenSea’s Series A, a $ 23 million transaction that gave the NFT market a lot of money and cachet.
  • Coinbase Ventures has also invested in OpeanSea, one of several investments made by the venture capital firm.
  • And then Coinbase announced that it was embarking on NFTs, resulting in a large number of signups for its waiting list.

According to crypto watchdog group DappRadar, OpenSea is the largest NFT market today. Coinbase may flood it if users who have shown interest in its competing solution end up buying and selling NFTs on the popular crypto-investment platform.

Which would put OpenSea in a sort of pickle.

It’s fine for VCs to stay on boards after they go public if they want to and their holding companies keep them. Some VCs make it a habit to sit on the public board. Marc Andreessen is a board member of Facebook, for example, who notes in his blurb about the man that he previously held seats on the board of directors of eBay and HP. Costs.

But it gets a little tricky when the investor in question stays on the board of a holding company after its IPO and decides to take over the portcos of that investor’s company directly. Where this investor is still working. If I was OpenSea and saw Marc on the Coinbase board at the same time his venture capital firm was on my capitalization table, as Coinbase decided to attack my market, I would be pissed off.

Friends stab you in front?

Also remember that Facebook’s latest crypto push is in partnership with, you guessed it, Coinbase!

There have been other ironies recently involving members of the Facebook board. For example, Peter Thiel is on the board of directors of Facebook. And he supports JD Vance, an aspiring politician. Notably, JD Vance attacks Facebook while running for office. While the OpenSea saga is a bit boring to watch as big companies scramble to solve smaller problems isn’t really my favorite thing to do, watching Facebook money flowing again to bite Facebook in the ass is hilarious because no small fries were harmed in the process.

Still, however, you have to ask yourself if we shouldn’t be spreading out the board seats a bit. Otherwise, a16z will continue to work to undermine the very founders it supports.

Volvo and other IPOs

I wanted to find the time this week to dig into the Volvo offering, but I failed. You can check out the company’s ratings on itself here. Recall that Volvo has separated from Polestar, which goes public via a SPAC.

And at the end of this week, Braze asked to be released to the public. More information on this company and its first S-1 thing on Monday.

More to come, including a look at the race for high-stakes startups to create the best corporate giveaways platform (no kidding),

Alexis



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