Athenian Capital’s Investment Thesis
Every decade or so, new waves of innovation spurred by new models of computing, spearhead the creation of new applications and services. Mainframe and digital computing of the 1950s and 1960s led to the development of personal computing in the 1970s and the internet in the late 1980s and early 1990s. By the late-2000s, smartphones and mobile computing led directly to the development of today’s most popular applications and services like Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and Reddit.
Though these applications maintain billions of daily users and trillions in market share, we believe we are fast approaching the limits of smartphone and mobile computing innovation. It is now clear that the next wave of innovation will come from the development and advancement of the next generation of the internet: Web3.
Web3 — a decentralized, trustless, and permissionless internet built on blockchain computing — will define the next quarter century of innovation and is likely to be the greatest technological leap of our lifetimes. At its core, Web3 aims to rearchitect today’s internet (Web 2.0) by transitioning from the centralized control of user-generated data by companies like Meta, Alphabet, and Amazon (companies we refer to as ‘Data Monarchies’), to the decentralized control of user-generated data where users maintain ownership of the data they generate (we refer to these as ‘Data Democracies’).
This transition from Data Monarchies to Data Democracies will revolutionize the way we interact with our world and each other, while simultaneously establishing new economic incentives that facilitate the creation of a more open, just, and verdant world.
And even though blockchain computing, first proposed by Satoshi Nakamoto in the Bitcoin Whitepaper, is over a decade old, we fervently believe we’re still in the early days of Web3’s development. One can easily draw parallels between today and the early 2000s when many Data Monarchies (today’s ‘Big Tech’ firms) were still in their infancy. Put simply, there is an excitement and fervor in the air, and it feels like we’re just scratching the surface of Web3.
The potential for Web3 to change the world is incredibly exciting, real, and not something we can ignore. To capitalize on this potential, we have committed ourselves to investing exclusively in the infrastructure and services fundamental to the development and adoption of Web3. Broadly speaking, we will invest in the entirety of the global blockchain and crypto ecosystem: DeFi (Decentralized Finance), DeSo (Decentralized Social), NFTs (Non-fungible Tokens), DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations), gaming, the metaverse, dApps (Decentralized Applications), Layer 1 and Layer 2 protocols, as well as Web 2.0 companies transitioning to Web3.
Going further, we believe the future will be fully tokenized. A world in which virtually all assets — both physical and digital — will move from secretive archives and insecure filing cabinets to publicly verifiable blockchains on highly secure networks. We are rapidly approaching a society in which blockchain technologies are the preferred mechanisms for conducting business online, and in-person.
As experienced operators, our robust network of legal and financial expertise allows us the ability to invest globally and with the flexibility of using traditional venture financing, as well as new instruments like the direct purchase of tokens through SAFTs (Simple Agreement for Future Tokens).
In just over a decade, we’ve seen tremendous innovation around the world and in all areas of blockchain and the development of Web3. We are consistently amazed by the constant stream of intrepid entrepreneurs flooding this space and look forward to working with them as we build the next generation of the internet, together.