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Alternative Market Briefing

Polychain Capital offers a new spin on the cryptocurrency hedge fund

Friday, August 19, 2016

Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York:

At the end of July, Olaf Carlson-Wee, the first employee at Andreessen Horowitz-backed bitcoin exchange Coinbase, resigned his position as Head of Special Projects in order to start his own blockchain focused hedge fund. The news sent ripples through the cryptocurrency space at the time, but the reality set in at the end of last week when Carlson-Wee's Polychain Capital made its first regulatory filing.

The San Francisco-based hedge fund will run an actively managed portfolio of blockchain-based assets. Unlike other cryptocurrency hedge funds out there, Polychain won't be amassing a portfolio of just Bitcoin or Ether. Instead, Carlson-Wee says he'll be backing all of the different parts of the blockchain world, using his knowledge as someone who has been in it since the beginning. "Conventional wisdom says to invest in companies built on the blockchain protocol, but that isn't the whole picture," he tells Opalesque. "Not that many people are going to be able to tell which are the good companies or who really has the skills."

Carlson-Wee should know. One of his early hires at Coinbase was a 14-year-old - not exactly the hire you'd expect to see hidebound VCs or investors make. Carlson-Wee has the kind of egalitarian view of blockchain that you only get from someone who is focused on building something, not just arbitraging it. The way he describes Polychain sounds a bit like a hybrid between a research lab, an......................

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