I've Moved Onchain

Over the last few years, I’ve moved my internet life from web2 to web3 and rarely use any web2 services anymore.

So I am starting a series called “I’ve Moved Onchain” to explain this journey to everyone and today’s opening post is about blogging, naturally.

I’ve blogged at AVC.com for a very long time. I started out in September 2003 at avc.typepad.com but moved to avc.com a few years later.

AVC.com has been my home for blogging for over twenty years.

AVC.com has served me very well over the years but it lacks a few things that really matter to me.

First, the posts are stored in a closed database hosted by me in the cloud.

Second, the services that I use to create AVC.com are not “composable” meaning that others cannot build things on top of AVC.com and the services that create and display the posts I create here.

Third, the identities of the authors (me) and readers (you) here at AVC.com are not tied to any sort of portable identity and reputation system.

While none of these issues may seem like a big deal to you, they are huge deal to me as I will explain in a bit.

So when web3 blogging services started cropping up, I started to use them.

My first rodeo was at Mirror.xyz where I kept avc.mirror.xyz for most of 2021, 2022, and 2023. This was my first post at avc.mirror.xyz on March 18, 2021.

I really wanted to blog at AVC.xyz and that became an option for me in November 2023 when I joined Paragraph.xyz and wrote this Hello World post.

These web3 blogging platforms store all of my posts onchain at Arweave. These posts are available to anyone to read regardless of what blogging platform I use. And if I get abducted by an alien and fail to pay my hosting service, they will still exist onchain. Forever. That’s a huge deal to me.

They are also composable web3 services. Any developer can take what I create at AVC.xyz and build on top of it. That’s also a huge deal to me. My partner Nick describes the composability benefit so well in his post today on USV.com.

And my identity and the identity of my readers are mapped to a web3 wallet address that authenticates who they are, what they do onchain, and allows developers to create reputation systems on everyone. Given my fight with spam and trolls and jerks and assholes that largely drove me away from blogging and commenting in the latter part of the last decade, this last bit really matters to me.

At the start of this year, I took everyone who receives an email when I post here at AVC.com and imported that email list to Paragraph.xyz. So a lot of the AVC readers have been getting emails of my posts at AVC.xyz this year. But even so, I still get a ton of daily traffic here at AVC.com and I have not posted anything new here since January 10, 2024.

I do not plan to post here at AVC.com going forward, but I will keep the archive up and I may choose to cross-post a thing or two here whenever I want to reach the broadest audience.

My home for blogging is and has been onchain for a while now and if you want to follow my writing, please go visit avc.xyz and subscribe to receive my blog posts via email by clicking the green subscribe button on the upper right.

But what about Mirror.xyz and avc.mirror.xyz? you might ask.

Well, I am also thrilled to be able to say that Mirror and Paragraph have merged and these two leading web3 blogging services will now be one. And, as you may know or suspect, USV has invested in both of them and now will be a major shareholder in the merged company. I am very excited about that. Here is Paragraph’s blog post about the transaction and here is Mirror’s.

The team that built Mirror.xyz is now turning their attention to a new app called Kiosk and they blogged about that today. So USV is now also an investor in that project.

Over the last thirty years, our lives moved from offline to online. They are now moving onchain. That’s a wonderful thing and I hope you will join me in moving onchain as well.


Transit Tech Lab

The Partnership for NYC, alongside its partners at the MTA, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, NJ TRANSIT, and NYC Department of Transportation, launched a call for applications for the 6th annual Transit Tech Lab this week.

To kick off this year’s program, the Transit Tech Lab is seeking early and growth-stage tech companies with compelling solutions to one of three local transit system challenges:

 Representatives from each participating agency will evaluate applications based on the technology’s impact and the applicant’s product, team, and overall value proposition. Finalists will advance to conduct a proof-of-concept over an eight-week period; the companies demonstrating the most compelling technologies that align with the agencies’ objectives have the opportunity to secure a yearlong pilot.

Applications are due Wednesday, February 28.  Interested applicants are invited to attend an information session on February 1 at 1pm ET.

If you know of a company or emerging innovator that would be a good fit for this year’s Transit Tech Lab, please let us know about them via email or encourage them to apply here: https://transitinnovation.org


Empire AI

Last summer I sat down with Tom Secunda, who co-founded Bloomberg LP with Mike Bloomberg, to talk about areas of shared philanthropic interest. Tom told me that academic institutions do not have access to the kind of AI/ML infrastructure that the top tech companies have and he wanted to fix that. His idea was a consortium of Universities in New York State, the New York State Government, and philanthropic donors. His vision was a large shared facility in upstate NY with state-of-the-art AI/ML infrastructure that participating academic institutions could make available to their faculty for cutting-edge AI/ML research.

Tom is a convincing person. He convinced me that this was a good idea last summer and he went on to convince Governor Hochul and the top Universities in New York State and his fellow philanthropist Jim Simons.

I am glad Governor Hochul and her team were quick to recognize the promise of this idea. Today, Governor Hochul will announce Empire AI in her State of the State Address.

Empire AI will be a “state-of-the-art artificial intelligence computing center in Upstate New York to be used by New York’s leading institutions to promote responsible research and development, create jobs, and unlock AI opportunities focused on public good.”

Over $400mm of public and private funding has been committed over ten years to build and operate the Empire AI facility. New York State is contributing $275mm and over $125mm is coming from participating Universities and philanthropy.

I am excited to see New York State step up like this. Other states, like Massachusetts, have done something similar but this NYS effort is significantly larger. I expect more states will follow now. Cutting-edge AI/ML research should not be limited to large tech companies. We need our academic institutions to be on equal footing. This model, particularly if more states adopt it, can help make that possible.

New York is one of the leading AI centers in the US, along with California and Massachusetts. We see this every day as entrepreneurs building AI companies come knocking on our door. It is very encouraging to see our local government supporting and investing in this new area of economic development.

I want to congratulate Governor Hochul, the leaders of our academic institutions, and Tom Secunda, for their vision and initiative here. This is important.

#machine learning#NYC#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

Read Write Own

Chris Dixon, who leads the A16Z crypto fund, and has been an entrepreneur, VC, and friend of mine for over twenty years, has written a book called Read Write Own that is available for pre-order now and will start shipping at the end of the month. Chris gave me a copy right before the holidays and I read it over the last week.

I asked Chris why he wrote the book and he had two answers, one personal and one practical. The personal one is “I have focused my career on investing in blockchain networks. During the recent downturn, I felt a need to rearticulate to myself why I am doing that.”  The practical one is “I want to explain blockchain networks to young adults who are thinking about where to start their careers, to the mother of the software engineer at Coinbase who wants to understand what her child is working on, and to lawmakers and regulators in DC who need to understand why they are important.”

What Chris calls Blockchain Networks, I call Web3. The term Web3 is important to me because my investing career first took meaning during the initial phase of the web, which I think of as Web1. It took off during the second phase of my career which many call Web2. And I’ve spent the last decade of my career imagining what a better version could be, which I call Web3.

Chris takes the same journey but he calls these phases Read, Write, and Own. The initial phase of the web, when the web browser arrived, was mostly a reading experience. Then in the early 2000s, the web became two-way and we could Read and Write. What Blockchain Networks have unlocked is the ability to own things on the web. You can own your identity. You can own your social media posts. You can own your money. You can own your art. You can own your music. And so on and so forth.

Chris’s book has three parts. The first part is a history of the web and how we got to where we are right now. The second part is a detailed description of what makes Blockchain Networks work and why they are important and powerful. The third and final part is a series of descriptions of new kinds of applications that are being built on Blockchain Networks.

While I enjoyed all three parts of the book, I was energized by the final section. Chris imagines a future that is very different from where we are today. It is one I very much want to see emerge. I think you will too.

You can pre-order Read Write Own here.I encourage you to do that. I expect you will turn that last page and be excited, like I am, about what is coming now that we can own the Internet instead of it owning us.


What Will Happen In 2024

As we enter 2024, the capital markets have found their footing and are moving higher. The Fed has taken interest rates as far as they want at this time and inflation has come down. It seems that a “soft landing” is likely. That is good news for the innovation economy because healthy capital markets are a necessary support system.

However, optimistic capital markets are necessary but not sufficient for a healthy innovation economy. We also need innovation. The good news is we have a lot of that and more is coming in 2024. I have never seen an environment with more innovation in the forty years I have been in the tech sector. It is breathtaking to see.

Let’s start with Artificial intelligence (AI) which was the big event in 2023. The AI “stack” has emerged with Large Language Models and other important models (like audio, imagery, video, etc) operating in the cloud with well-documented and supported APIs that are available to developers to build on. And possibly even more important is the emergence of very good open-source AI models that in many cases can outperform the closed-source models. With the AI stack well developed and supported, we are moving into the application era of AI, much like the browser brought us the application era of the web and the iPhone brought us the application era of the mobile device. This is a big deal. While in 2023, everyone was rightly focused on the large language models like OpenAI, Anthropic, Gemini, Llama, etc, we will see new AI-first applications emerge in 2024 that will start to move the focus and the conversation up the stack. And we will see legacy applications embrace AI to make their products better and to remain competitive with the AI-first disrupters.

But like web3 before it and the internet before that, this new technology will bring litigation and regulatory scrutiny that will raise, and ultimately resolve many important issues. Let’s start with litigation. Should I, as the author of over 9,000 blog posts that have been used to train these large language models, be entitled to some of the revenue they will make? OpenAI generated over $1.5bn in revenue in 2023. Should I get some of that? And do I need to join The New York Times and other publishers in suing to get some of it? That is just one of many issues that these AI models have raised and they will need to be resolved. I believe it will take years of litigation and regulation before we understand what the appropriate business model and norms are for the AI economy. But fortunately, like web3 and the Internet before it, the tech sector will not wait for those issues to be resolved. Trillions of dollars are being invested in the AI sector and that will continue for as far as this eye can see. Innovation never waits for rules and regulations. But it eventually gets them.

That’s a good segue to web3, which has seen a full frontal attack from regulators and lawmakers in the US and elsewhere. 2023 was the year that web3 held its ground and 2024 will be the year that regulators and lawmakers come to terms with web3. We will finally start to see regulatory clarity emerge in the US like has happened in the EU and elsewhere. 

But as important as regulatory clarity is to web3, it pales in importance with the need for a “ChatGPT moment” for blockchain-based technologies. AI developed for over forty years before its coming out party. I think it will take web3 less than half that time. Satoshi gave us the playbook to build a decentralized internet stack back in 2008 and I feel quite confident that we will have massive mainstream applications running on this decentralized stack well before 2028. I think we will see mainstream decentralized applications emerge in 2024 as we now have inexpensive and fast transactions and simpler user interfaces. Vitalik wrote a nice piece about this a few days ago.

AI and Web3 are two sides of the same coin. AI will help make web3 usable for mainstream applications and web3 will help us trust AI. Together they will lead to a more powerful, more resilient, more trusted, and more equitable Internet. 

But none of that will matter if we don’t accelerate our focus on our warming planet. Earth continues to warm at a faster rate than has been predicted, causing increasing pain and suffering across the globe. It is hard for humans to react to something that is thirty years out. It is a lot easier for humans to react to something that is happening to them right now. So this pain and suffering will force an acceleration of the energy transition from carbon to clean energy.

The energy transition is being powered by innovation in energy generation (renewables, nuclear, etc), energy storage (batteries, storage networks, etc), and smarter energy distribution. In the process of rebuilding the infrastructure and systems by which we power this planet, we are also modernizing the energy stack and making it decentralized, modular, and programmable. If you think you’ve seen this movie before, you have. And the good news is that there could even be a happy ending if we move fast enough to make this transition happen in the next twenty years.

The new energy stack has been coming together for the last decade but slowly and very much under the radar. I believe that 2024 will be a coming out party for the new energy stack and I am excited to be investing in this area and helping to make it happen.

So if we have healthier capital markets and more innovation than ever, what is up with the venture capital ecosystem? Well, that’s not such a happy story. Limited Partners, the folks that provide the capital to the venture capital funds, have taken a beating over the last few years and are cautious right now. In addition, we are seeing many large firms scale back or even shut down. And new firms are struggling to raise funds. This is a rationalization of a sector that got very big very fast in the last decade and will need time to find a new normal. Because venture funds have a ten-year life but often take much longer to fully liquidate, the venture capital business changes more slowly than the businesses it funds. I think we are a couple years into a transition that will take at least the first half of this decade to play out.

So while the capital markets will likely be robust in 2024, I do not expect that venture capital investing and venture capital fund formation to grow that much year over year in 2024. I think both will grow but not nearly as fast as the sectors that surround VC.

To sum it all up, we are in a golden era of innovation with AI and Web3 leading to a new more intelligent, resilient and decentralized Internet and the emergence of a new energy stack which will power our lives new ways that will not continue to warm our planet. There are opportunities every which way I look to back founders and founding teams building these new technologies. I think 2024 is going to be a terrific year for tech.

#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

What Happened In 2023

I like to bookend the New Year holiday with two posts, one looking back at the year that is ending (What Happened) and one looking forward to the year ahead (What Will Happen). This is the first of these two posts. The second one will run tomorrow.

I ended my What Will Happen In 2023 with this advice:

Buckle up, hang tough, and be smart.

What I did not predict in that post, although we had been discussing the possibility internally at USV for several months at the time I wrote it, was the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and several other banks that focused on the startup and web3 sectors.

I feel like that moment, which hit us in March, marked the bottom of the downturn, although it has taken at least the rest of the year to work through the carnage and there is still a bit more to come.

That look-forward post also missed the biggest new thing in tech, Chat GPT, which had initially launched about a month before I wrote it. That was a big miss as 2023 will most certainly be remembered as the year that AI went mainstream with consumers, thanks to Chat GPT and other consumer interfaces to large AI models.

To some extent, these two things are related. The end of the 2022/2023 tech/startup downturn happened when two things came together. The first is the end of a period of rising interest rates that had sent the stock market and broader capital markets reeling. The second is the emergence of a new tech megatrend, AI, which has been developing in front of our very eyes for as long as I have been in tech, so that is over forty years now.

But before something can become mainstream, it takes a consumer interface that allows everyone to see the power of the technology firsthand. That thing was Chat GPT and it will rightly take its place along with the iPhone, Netscape, the Macintosh, and other consumer products that brought a new technology into the mainstream and provided for a wave of technology innovation that followed.

Of course, a lot of other things happened in tech, startups, and web3 in 2023, but these two things are the ones that matter the most. Markets have settled down and are poised to move higher and we’ve got a new megatrend that will drive innovation, investing, and the economy.

So while it was a very difficult year, I also think 2023 was an incredibly important year and sets us up for an exciting new period in tech. More on that tomorrow.

#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

My Year-End Playlist

Every year I put together a playlist at the end of the year with some of the new music I found and got into.

Most of these songs are under the radar which is my favorite kind of music.

So I hope you find something new that you like in here.

#Music#My Music


I got an Oura ring a couple of years ago and have been working on improving my sleep and sleep habits ever since.

For much of my adult life, I have been a poor sleeper. I have always been able to fall asleep quickly, but I have been plagued by two sleep issues. The first is waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep. The second is waking up early, like 4:30/5am, and being wide awake.

So I’ve been working on those two things.

I still wake up in the middle of the night. My Oura ring tells me that I was up from around 4am to 4:30am last night. What I’ve learned about waking up in the middle of the night is that accepting it and not fighting it is the key to falling back to sleep. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I always wake up with something on my mind. It could be work, it could be something personal, it could be something else. I often work out stuff I’m struggling with in the middle of the night. But now I let it happen and not fuss about getting back to sleep. And I fall back to sleep most nights within thirty minutes.

The sleeping later thing has been harder to crack for me. I wake up with a lot of energy and I want to get out of bed and take on the world. For over twenty years, I have been blogging first thing in the morning when I wake up. I am doing that now. That is because I wake up with things on my mind and I want to work them out and for me, that means writing.

But for the last year, I have been forcing myself to lie in bed instead of jumping out of bed. I started sleeping until 5:30ish last year, I started sleeping until 6ish this year, and recently I have been sleeping until 7ish.

My sleep time has gone from 4-5 hours a night to almost 8 on a good night. I got 7:45 of sleep time last night, for example. I don’t always get that much sleep, but I get it a lot more frequently.

Longer and better sleep has a lot of health benefits. And at age 62, I need all of the health benefits I can get. I want to age gracefully and be mentally and physically fit for as long as possible. Better sleep is part of my plan to be able to do this.

Better sleep comes with some tradeoffs. I don’t have the two hours in the morning when everyone else is still asleep to read, write, and clean out my inbox. So I am writing less and my inbox is a disaster. But it seems like the right tradeoff to make. I moved my workouts to the early evening a few days a week so I no longer workout every morning. That gives me back some time in the mornings that I’ve given to staying in bed longer.

I understand that not everyone can make these tradeoffs. When we had a young family, we got up when our kids got up and we went to bed every night exhausted. A lot of my sleep issues started when our kids were very young. My work schedule is very adaptable and I can do things like move my workouts to the early evenings without missing a beat at work. I am lucky that I have all of this flexibility and I am using it to stay healthy and fit.

My experience over the last two years tells me that sleep habits can change and those of us who are poor sleepers can become good sleepers. I started with a device (in my case an Oura ring) that let me measure my sleep. I find that measuring helps to manage. But ultimately it is behavior change that helps the most.

For me, that meant working out more, eating better, drinking less, and fretting less.

I do not consider myself done with this journey to improve my sleep. I think I will be working on this my entire life. But I have made a lot of progress, I am sleeping better, and for those of you who struggle with sleep, I can assure you that you can improve your sleep too.

#life lessons

Open Office Hours at NYC Tech Week

NYC Tech Week is next week. It will be a week filled with events for the tech sector to engage and connect with each other.

A particularly great part of tech week is VC Open Office Hours.

There are over 100 VC investors signed up to participate next week.

Here is how it works:

1/ you select four investors (out of more than 100) that you want to meet

2/ you get up to four twenty minute meetings

3/ you discuss your idea with the investor in hopes of getting them interested enough to take another meeting

4/ nobody should expect to walk out with a commitment to invest

As of this moment (Thursday morning Oct 12th) about half of the available slots are still open. But if you want to participate, you probably should act fast as I think this will sell out by the end of today, certainly by the end of tomorrow.

Go here to participate.

#NYC#VC & Technology

The Heist

On Saturday, September 9th, the Gotham Gal and I arrived at JFK airport after an eight-hour flight from Paris. While waiting for our luggage, I got pushed a notification in my web3 wallet that there was an NFT drop underway that I could participate in. So I clicked on the link, signed the transaction, and nothing happened (or so I thought). So I tried again. Again nothing happened. Frustrated, I turned my attention to the luggage, retrieved it, got in a car, and headed home. On the way home, I tried again a few times to no avail.

It turns out that each of my failed attempts to mint an NFT was a scam that allowed a thief to eventually take 46 of my most valuable NFTs out of my wallet. I did not realize any of this until I woke the next morning to a text from a friend saying:

did your wallet get compromised? your NFTs from fredwilson.eth were transferred out and sold

That’s when I realized that all of the failed minting activities from the night before were actually me getting scammed.

For much of August, I along with a lot of NFT enthusiasts had been participating in something called “Onchain Summer” which was a rollout of the new Base layer two blockchain from Coinbase. Part of Onchain Summer was a daily NFT drop. You simply clicked on the link in the message in your web3 inbox and went and minted. It was fun and I collected some great NFTs that way.

The message I was scammed with looked exactly like those Onchain Summer messages but was not from the same sender. I should have noticed that but did not. Mistake number one.

The fact that I signed a transaction and nothing happened should have been a sign that something was wrong. Normally when you sign a minting transaction, a new NFT shows up in your wallet. When it did not, I should have sensed something was wrong. I did not. Mistake number two.

The fact that I was signing transactions in the same wallet where I keep my NFTs is also bad practice and I knew it. The best practice is to hold NFTs in a “vault” wallet where you never sign transactions and to have a separate “mint” wallet where you hold nothing but do all of your signing. Mistake number three.

What I was doing by signing those scam transactions was giving the thief access to a number of smart contracts that secured multiple NFTs that I owned. So even though I did not sign 46 scam transactions, the thief was able to take 46 NFTs.

Signing transactions is risky business and needs to be done carefully. I knew that but did not take the required care on the evening of September 9th.

This story has a happy ending. With the help of my USV colleague Nikhil, I have recovered 38 of the 46 NFTs that the thief took from me for a fairly modest sum. As I put it to a friend, it cost me between weeks and months of my personal ETH staking rewards. It was enough to sting and that’s good. It was a lesson that I learned the hard way and it was worth every ETH that it cost me to get them back.

There are a few NFTs that I am not going to try and get back, but I am still trying to buy back these two NFTs that the thief sold to others who are likely unaware that they are holding stolen goods:

Anticyclone #212 currently held by this wallet

WoW #8105 currently held by this wallet

If you recognize those wallets and know who holds those NFTs, I would appreciate an introduction so I can offer to buy them back at their cost.

I do want to thank everyone who sold me back my NFTs (including the thief who we bought quite a few from). Many people sold them back to me at their cost when they heard they were taken from me. I really appreciate that.

#art#digital collectibles#life lessons#personal security#Web3