Certain VCs who tweet a lot have gotten a little vicious lately, with some of the most powerful people in the industry lashing out in unprecedented ways. The two that come to mind are Chris Dixon and Marc Andreessen, who have lately shown little patience with influential people who question whether the promise of cryptocurrencies, blockchain-based collectibles or decentralization is exaggerated.
The most prominent battle began in late December with billionaire entrepreneur and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who tweeted to the six million accounts that follow him: “You don’t own ‘web3’. The VCs and their LPs do. You will never escape your incentives. Ultimately it is a centralized entity with a different label.”
Sure, Dorsey was insulting the VCs, but there’s some truth to the remark, of course. Andreessen and other cryptocurrency companies like Paradigm and Pantera Does has a financial stake in some of the biggest platforms on the market, and that’s fine. Quite possibly these platforms would not exist without the support of companies and quite possibly these platforms will become more decentralized over time.
However, Dorsey’s tweet launched a war. Dixon threw the first grenade by subtitle to his nearly 800,000 followers, “[F]first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight with you, then you win.”
There was some reason for Dixon to boast. For years, it was thought that Andreessen Horowitz was on a foolish mission because of all the money and resources she poured into cryptocurrency projects. Now the joke is on everyone who no devote a greater amount of your time and money to these same endeavors. As a reminder, Andreessen Horowitz’s investment in Coinbase alone was valued at $11 billion on the day the cryptocurrency exchange began publicly trading last year.
But the war did not stop there. Dorsey wrote back to Dixon, Andreessen himself jumped into the conversation to insult Dorsey several times, and things continued to get worse.
Lately, the miasma has expanded even further. Yesterday, Bobby Goodlatte, a former Facebook employee turned angel investor and venture capitalist, tweeted to no one in particular, “I’m a big crypto bull and I think art NFTs are stupid.” While Goodlatte’s tweet seemed relatively harmless, suddenly Dixon, who has more than 10 times Goodlatte’s 70,000 followers, retweeted Goodlatte’s comment, writing above it, “Can I shorten Bobby Goodlatte?”
Before a horrified Goodlatte could respond, Dixon blocked his account.
Dixon appears to have deleted that comment and another insult directed at Goodlatte, whose father is a former congressman, which read: “My parents are billionaires and I was lucky in cryptocurrencies, but now I would like to destroy the founders who worked hard. [their] way up.”
Goodlatte, who seemed genuinely hurt by the whole thing, later called Dixon a clown.
I beat Chris on every good investment he’s ever made, so I welcome the short.
Chris was tier B on Coinbase, I was tier A.
Chris bought ETH in 2015, I bought it in 2014. 🤷♂️
Dunks, then block me. what a clown pic.twitter.com/eY7LSetQ3P
— Bobby Goodlatte (@rsg) February 4, 2022
Many industry watchers have quietly asked what is happening at Andreessen Horowitz. The partners just made so much money that, as one VC privately posted earlier today, they’re “fucking off afterward?”
Eric Bahn, general partner at the Hustle Fund early-stage fund, has another theory. “If you look at content on Facebook that has been shared historically, you know that their algorithms favored negative stories, attack stories. That’s very shareable fodder. The same is true on Twitter. Some people realize that if you mean drops, it gets noticed.”
Clearly, the company’s investors are not going to say anything. Andreessen Horowitz has minted money for everyone involved with the company. Some of these supporters – and also some founders in the capital markets – might even find these brazen tactics convincing.
Meanwhile, some of its rivals are likely using its bellicose behavior – one of the only cracks in the company’s armor these days – to their advantage.
Parker Thompson, a venture capitalist at TNT Ventures, summed up after the Dixon-Goodlatte mess what many are whispering when he tweeted, “There seems to be something in the water that is making people lose their minds. It is not a bullish signal for the portfolio.”