While Several VCs Exit, Binance Expands Crypto Incubator to 5 Regions

Many venture capital firms have broken deals with companies in the crypto sector over the past several months.

Barry Silbert, the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group, a major cryptocurrency-focused venture capital firm that has invested in large-scale cryptocurrency businesses in the likes of Coinbase, bitFlyer, and Blockchain, has said that amidst falling crypto asset prices, deals between crypto startups and venture capital firms have started to fall out.

Despite the troubling trend, Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily volume and active monthly visitors, expanded its crypto incubator across five major cities.

How is Binance Able to Expand its Crypto Incubator?

Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance better known to the community as CZ, said that many venture capital firms are only in it for the profit, which is understandable, and tend to head to the exits as the market struggles.

Although many venture capital firms are holding out on investing in crypto companies, CZ stated that Binance is more comfortable investing in early-stage companies now than in the bull market.

CZ said:

“While many VCs have ‘paused’, we are actually more comfortable investing now. Valuations are more reasonable, most have prototype/product, only strong teams left. Much better investment opportunities than at ATH.”

In the bull market of 2017, various ERC20 token and blockchain projects achieved market valuations above the $1 billion mark, in some cases without working products and active user bases.

At the time, Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin questioned the $500 billion valuation of the crypto market, suggesting that it is difficult to justify such a valuation given the level of adoption of decentralized applications (dApps) and blockchain-based systems at the time.

“So total cryptocoin market cap just hit $0.5T today. But have we earned it? How many unbanked people have we banked? How many dapps have we created that have substantial usage? Low added value per user for using a blockchain is fine, but then you have to make up for it in volume,” Buterin said at the time, adding, “The answer to all of these questions is definitely not zero, and in some cases it’s quite significant. But not enough to say it’s $0.5T levels of significant. Not enough.”

Since then, the valuation of many projects has declined substantially, while the valuation of commercial businesses such as exchanges, over-the-counter (OTC) markets, and custodial solution providers has maintained relative stability.

Considering that most of the projects in the market are in a similar phase of development in terms of user activity and adoption as they were 12 months ago, it can be argued that a bear market can provide investors the opportunity to invest projects at a realistic valuation without premiums.

It’s a Cycle

Throughout the past nine years, the crypto market has gone through a cycle of bubble-crash-build-rally in a total of five times. Each of the correction resulted in the strengthening of infrastructure surrounding the asset class.

Many venture capital firms could hold out until the market recovers. But, some VC firms and companies in the likes of Binance, Andreessen Horowitz, Nasdaq, and Fidelity are continuing to finance projects in the space, with the long-term growth of the cryptocurrency sector in mind.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Last modified (UTC): December 14, 2018 2:07 PM

About the author

Joseph Young

Hong Kong-Based Finance and Cryptocurrency Analyst. Contributing regularly to CCN and Hacked. Providing unique insights into the crypto and fintech space since 2012.