Back in 2013, fresh out of university, I dove head-first into entrepreneurship – only to immediately fall flat on my face. The fast-paced world of startups hit me with a one-two punch: first, the merciless AdTech Sales cycle, swiftly followed by the failure of my inaugural startup. Struggling to make rent, all I had were gift cards from well-meaning family members. Enter the 2010s, when a savvy few started turning gift cards into cold, hard cash. For me, this financial alchemy planted the seed that would eventually sprout into Fold, which has since moved on from gift cards to become the ultimate hub for earning Bitcoin. I saw Bitcoin as the antidote to the encroachment of third-party intermediaries, especially for those in countries witnessing currency devaluations.
My journey from startup founder to venture studio operator has been a crash course in the hardscrabble world of entrepreneurship. The lessons I’ve learned along the way have all gone into making Thesis* what it is today: an incubator for projects designed to help Bitcoin fulfil its full potential.
At Thesis*, we're brimming with brilliant ideas, but what we're always on the hunt for is great founders. My own experience has taught me who to look for: those resilient diamonds in the rough, people who've tasted failure and lived to fight another day. These are individuals who (like Bitcoin) are capable of weathering the ups and downs in market cycles – stubbornly persisting despite the naysayers. I’ve been through more than my share of market ups and downs. Still, I remain a self-confessed ‘PermaBull’, so the 2023 Bear bit harder and dug deeper than my optimistic self had anticipated.
But there’s an upside to any downturn: it washes away the superficial deals and noise, revealing genuine value and testing founders to their core. What has emerged from this downturn is a renewed belief in Bitcoin as the counterweight to the centralizing juggernauts of data, cloud services, and surveillance.
Bitcoin as Counterweight
In an era when so many of us are forced to sacrifice autonomy on the altar of convenience, we need Crypto/Web3 and Bitcoin to stand tall as the counterforce. It’s on all of us to build a future where human beings have the right to retain as much of their privacy as possible, and Bitcoin is the foundation on which our team at Thesis* is building the tools to help people fight back. Bitcoin is our best safeguard against the Federal Reserve's money devaluation, asset seizures, and the overall TradFi system that seems innocuous… until it isn't.
Where We Stand Today
TradFi’s increasing embrace of blockchain this year is a double-edged sword: positive for Bitcoin/ETH ETFs but with potentially negative repercussions for the crypto space as a whole.
This is why it's time to draw a clear line between crypto technology and cryptocurrency as money. Bitcoin has made unparalleled progress as a store of value and medium of exchange. Yet most people don’t understand the meaningful difference between BTC (the asset) and Bitcoin (the network).
Ethereum, meanwhile, has undergone seismic shifts, with the introduction of staking and Layer2s reshaping its economic and structural landscape. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is evolving into a haven for builders, with products like Ordinals and BTC-wrapped offerings gaining meaningful traction.
The quest for secure bridging in DeFi is closing in on success, exemplified by one of our most promising projects, tBTC: the inaugural fully decentralized Bitcoin-to-Ethereum bridge. Built on the Threshold Network, tBTC is an easy-to-use, privacy-focused infrastructure for the public blockchain, allowing private data use on public protocols without compromising confidentiality.
While Bitcoin's resurgence is heartening, if we’re going to onboard the next billion users we need to tackle UI complexity and make apps and infrastructure that don’t just meet the current crypto standard of “barely tolerable”, but are, instead, a joy to use. Community ownership is vital, but what we really need are more applications and experiences seamlessly integrating Bitcoin without users realizing it.
Thankfully, the Bitcoin renaissance has attracted an influx of new builders who are transforming the ecosystem – empowering people to use their BTC without selling and helping to build a future where financial freedom and the freedom to remain anonymous are accessible to everyone.
Thesis* is determined to help build that future, focusing on user experience, privacy, and decentralisation and setting both our company and the wider Bitcoin community up for success as we head toward the halving of Bitcoin in 2024.
We’re Freedom Tech in action: constructing security and privacy on-chain – for everyone.
Thesis* is a crypto venture studio, seeking, funding, and building products and protocols in cryptocurrency and decentralized businesses. From Keep (now Threshold) to Fold, Saddle, and Taho, our projects empower individuals across Web3. As a remote-first company, led by founders entrenched in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space since 2014, we're steering the ship towards a decentralized future. Investors in Thesis* include heavyweights like Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital, and Draper Associates, among others.