How to DYOR: VC Resources

You’re smart. You’re responsible. You always DYOR. Or at least, you’re trying to. But where do you even begin? Who can you trust in the wild west of cryptocurrencies?  In this series of articles, I’ll provide overviews of some readily accessible research tools. If you have questions or suggestions, find me on the Reaper Farm Discord or Twitter.

But first, a quick primer on what I consider a healthy research mindset. In my opinion, a good researcher always considers the validity and source of their information. Constantly ask yourself, WHO is providing me this information? WHAT are they trying to tell me? WHERE are they getting this information? WHY are they telling me this? WHEN was this article written? HOW does this benefit me and the source of information?

For this first installment, I’ll be delving into the polished world of venture capitalism (VCs) and highlighting the plethora of resources available on their platforms. While not all of these are VC firms, all of them are heavily geared towards institutional investors. If it’s good enough for them, it’s just as good for us!

Grayscale

Grayscale DYOR

Grayscale is THE world’s largest digital currency asset manager. The firm focuses heavily on introducing new investors to digital currencies. They have a treasure trove of resources available on their websites for prospective investors and DeFi degens. 

Not sure what Cardano does, and you’re too afraid to ask at this point? Grayscale hosts various “Building Block” reports for notable Web3 protocols. This is the place for you if you need a polished summary of a project’s goals, history, strengths, and weaknesses. 

Reports and Insights are where readers will find the latest industry insights. These reports are focused on crypto trends and in-depth ‘Investor Studies’. These studies are focused on their investor community to establish perspectives and attitudes on popular assets. 

My first report recommendation would be “A Report on Decentralized Finance (DeFi),” where the research team discusses the financial systems and use cases of DeFi in web 3 economies.

Finally, users can treat themselves to their Webinars. These videos are interviews with some of the names behind projects like AAVE, SushiSwap, and Decentraland. An excellent source if you want to hear the project pitch directly from builders.

The Learn portion of the website is updated regularly, considering the quality of the reports provided, so users should check back every couple of weeks for information on what Grayscale is setting its sights on.

You can even check out their investment holdings here to see what the multi-billion dollar firm invests in. 

Andreessen Horowitz (a16z)

Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) is a major VC company with extensive experience under its belt and manages assets measured in billions. The firm started in 2009, focusing on building the future through technology and promoting ‘American dynamism’. The enterprising firm has investments across multiple cutting-edge fields such as biotech and healthcare, fintech, games, and crypto

While I’ll be highlighting the crypto-specific resources here, I’d definitely recommend a perusal of their other tech resources for a wealth of information and opinions. ‘Humanity + AI: Better Together’ offers a great look into the benefits of AI technology, different countries AI development plans, and how this will affect the human workforce.

First some required reading. ‘2022 State of Crypto Report’ is a publication released by a16z that measures annual trends of the crypto-verse, backed by tracking data and sourced information. They cover a variety of topics and themes and offer insights into the budding web3 economy. The team even has a podcast ‘web3 with a16z’ where they discuss the research methodologies used within the report. The podcast covers topics ranging from auction design and mechanics, NFTs, security, zero knowledge, gaming, decentralized media, tokenomics, history, infrastructure, roadmaps, and much, much more.

The crypto and web3 sections of their website have a surprising amount of content around topics that some of the other sites didn’t touch on. Particularly resources surrounding NFTs (The NFT Mint ‘Sweet Spot’: Data on Early Decisions), DAOs (DAO Entity Features & Entity Selection), and web3 security (Web3 Security: Attack Types and Lessons Learned). 

An honorable mention to this piece ‘The NFT Starter Pack: Tools for Anyone to Analyze NFTs’ provides NFT analysts a link to a GitHub page. All you need is a free Alchemy API key and an NFT contract address and you’ll be able to ‘generate CSV extracts for all token transfers, historical sales, and each underlying item’s metadata (with calculated rarity scores)’. Pretty neat. 

For those curious, the firm’s shorthand of a16z comes from the first and last letters of the name with 16 being the number of characters between the first and last letters. The moniker came after the founders realized that the company’s name may be difficult to spell or pronounce.

CoinShares

DYOR

CoinShares is Europe’s most prominent and longest-standing digital investment firm and has been a pioneer within the industry.  The company was the first to introduce a fully regulated Bitcoin investment fund in 2014. It established the first exchange-traded bitcoin and Ethereum products to traditional investors when most were laughing at the idea of cryptocurrencies. The team has leveraged its vast experience and network to develop an impressive research and financial reports portfolio. Updates are pretty regular, with new content posted weekly or less. 

CoinShare’s research and reports can be found on the Learn portion of their website. The site hosts hundreds of articles ranging from financial reporting, surveys, and the latest news for free with no paywall to be seen. I’d recommend one of their new pieces, ‘DeFi Spotlight Quarterly’ , a new publication that will measure the overall health of the Ethereum DeFi ecosystem. For a balanced perspective on the Ethereum switch to Proof of Stake, try this aptly named article ‘The Compromises and Benefits of Ethereum switching to a Proof of Stake network’.

The “Digital Asset Funds Flows Report” is a weekly publication that covers “the inflows and outflows of exchange-traded products (ETPs), mutual funds, and over-the-counter (OTC) trusts that reference bitcoin, ether, and other digital assets.” This report is a perfect resource for those trying to gauge the financial situation of crypto ETP providers and quantifies the flow to and from different crypto assets via VC firms. They also provide information on the flow by exchange country for those curious about which countries are seeing a rise or fall in crypto-related investment products.

Coin Metrics

DYOR

Next in the educational portfolio should be Coin Metrics. While more commonly known for its suite of blockchain search programs and data visualization tools, Coin Metrics also publishes its range of original research and not one but two different crypto newsletters! 

Their original research includes ‘Coin Metrics Quarterly Supply Transparency Report,’ which tracks the inflow and outflow of supply for several significant crypto assets. Want to follow the supply of free-floating DOGE tokens? Need to track how many BAT tokens have been released onto the market this week? This is the report to check out every quarter. I’d also recommend the ‘The Cambrian Explosion of Stablecoins’  written in conjunction with Coin Metrics and NEU Blockchain. A concise and well-presented report about the different variations of stablecoins, adoption trends, and supply growth.

In terms of newsletters, you’re spoiled for choice. State of the Network is a weekly newsletter offering a mix of market summary and effectively presented data. State of the Market provides a more comprehensive overview of recent crypto-asset activity. You’ll find information on weekly spot volumes from Binance, FTX, Coinbase, and Kraken and a page dedicated to the futures market within those exchanges. I’d highly recommend both to be added to your newsletter reading list for those who prefer data and number-driven resources. 

Conclusion

Hopefully, you’ll be able to leverage the research done by some of the big institutional players in the crypto-verse to more completely DYOR. There is truly a buffet of research resources out there ready to be consumed by hungry researchers so take your time, consider your options and try and get some value out of what’s on offer. Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.

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