Kevin Rose on crypto winters, pseudonymous founders and his buzzy Moonbirds NFT project –

On the chain reaction podcast this week we spoke to Kevin Rose, a serial entrepreneur whose efforts — most famously Digg included — have been well covered in over the decades.

Rose is a partner at VC firm True Ventures, but his latest project is an NFT startup called Proof Collective, which recently launched a much-hyped 10,000 NFT collection of pixelated owls. Rose and its partners have deposited $80 million on the primary sale of the moonbirds project, and use that money plus a much more conventional $10 million round of financing led by Alexis Ohanian’s venture firm Seven Seven Six to build a “web3 media company”.

“We’re doing this to build a big, huge, brand new kind of media company from scratch,” Rose says. “We didn’t have to raise money from Alexis or True Ventures, but the reason we did was so people could understand that we were serious about building a sustainable business here.”

Now those Moonbirds are trading for a minimum of about 25 Eth these days, which equates to about $50k at current Ethereum prices, although the exchange rate has shrunk a bit in recent weeks. In our conversation, we delved into several topics with Rose, including the recent market downturn, which he summarizes as “the risk of showing itself” amid a very long journey away from fiat currencies.

“If nothing fundamental has changed in the behind-the-scenes mechanics, which I think is clearly not the case when it comes to something like UST or Luna, but if everything else is in order in terms of the technical infrastructure behind the scenes for Bitcoin or Ethereum or whatever it is, I just have this thought that I never really think about going back to fiat ever,” Rose says.

The broader slump in crypto markets has been accompanied by a more modest pullback in public markets in recent weeks, but while many venture firms appeared to be taking a hit, last week’s aggressive pullback hit companies with substantial crypto holdings particularly hard. Rose says his company doesn’t want to be reactive to trying to play into a potential bear market.

“We’ve never sold a token, so that’s the only thing that’s great about our funds, we can look founders in the eye and say we’re not in this to turn it around. So I don’t care if we sitting on a 20x or 50x, or a negative 50% off whatever the token price is, we believe it will take you a decade to build something really substantial in this new space… To let the founder down is absolutely the worst thing you can do and it’s just not in our DNA.”

Venture firms have found many new lenders in recent years to invest in crypto-centric funds or vehicles with crypto close to their center. While many of these LPs are likely experiencing their first major crypto decline, Rose believes most lenders know what they are doing when chasing crypto returns.

“I think if you talk to individual LPs, they wouldn’t invest in a crypto fund if they didn’t understand the multiples they were hopefully aiming for and the risks they were taking,” he says. “If you look at everything that company is dipping their toes in the waters of — crypto is the riskiest bucket of all.”

You can listen to the full interview with rose above where we discuss his mixed feelings about the metaverse, the challenges pseudonymous founders face and the inclusion issues of web3.

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