Cryptocurrency

Andreessen Partner Predicts More Libra-Type Crypto Efforts

digital coins Libra

On the heels of the U.S. Mint’s decision to phase out production of pennies next year, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, a California-based venture capital firm, said money will be digital by 2030, Bloomberg News reported.

Kathryn Haun said cash is on its way out in the same way books and music have gone digital. Haun’s prediction is not surprising given the company’s effort to raise $450 million for Libra, a blockchain digital currency proposed by Facebook.

“There will be other entrants in this category,” Haun told the news service. “Fundamentally everybody on the planet has a need to transfer value.”

Known for its financial backing of social media companies like Facebook and Twitter, Andreessen was one of the first venture firms with a large fund dedicated to cryptocurrencies, the Financial Times reported. The company raised $350 million in 2018 for startups working on the blockchain technology underpinning digital coins.

The fund has also been one of the biggest backers of Libra and holds a seat on the association’s board.

Last month, as reported in this space, the Libra Association named Stuart Levey, a former U.S. Treasury Department executive, as its first CEO. Haun, a board member, led the search committee. The 24-member group, which includes companies and nonprofits, was formed last year by Facebook to enable its version of a global payment system.

While many venture capital firms remain wary of crypto, Bloomberg reported Andreessen recently started a second, $515 million fund, which Haun co-manages, that’s investing in cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects.

In a decade, she said, money will look like many other things that have gone digital.

“We think we already have that in services like Venmo and PayPal, but in reality that relies on physical banks’ IOUs,” she said. “In 10 years, the actual bits and bytes are going to be bearer instruments.”

Asked about the timing of Libra and its competitors, Haun said internet money is still in its infancy.

Haun was questioned about why there are few venture capital companies investing in the space and if it will change.

“It’s a real commitment,” Haun said. “You need to have a dedicated focus on crypto in order to do this because there’s so much change and so many opportunities. We are starting to see some of the more traditional venture-capital funds starting to enter into crypto. Because of regulatory considerations, a lot of them can’t hold tokens unless they register as registered investment advisors. And tokens are where it’s at right now, and where it’s going.”

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