Web 3: “For the first time, Gafa’s supremacy can be challenged”

Projects abound in the crypto ecosystem, despite the price decline seen since the peak reached by bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market in November 2021. Several specialized Web 3 funds have been rapidly launched in recent months to accompany the trend and to discover the nuggets of tomorrow. Ledger and Cathay Innovation thus created a joint fund of 100 million euros at the beginning of June. They were succeeded by XAnge in early July.

And in early August, the site bloc reported that Aglaé Ventures, financed by the holding company of LVMH boss Bernard Arnault, also intended to open a fund with a budget of 100 million euros. Web 3 is attracting more and more money. This new version of the Web, based on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, stands out for its decentralized nature. It should make it possible to dispense with intermediaries such as Gafa or banks, and aims to offer content creators and users the possibility of fully re-appropriating the tools of the Web.


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Cyril Bertrand, managing partner of XAnge, explains why and how the “Digital Ownership” fund, equipped with 80 million euros, intends to participate in the financing of various projects related to Web 3. XAnge, which manages 600 million euros of assets , is specialized. in supporting start-ups in their beginnings, investing amounts of 500,000 to 10 million euros in the start-up phase.

Capital: Is it the right time to launch a Web 3 fund, as cryptocurrency prices have fallen since November 2021?

Cyril Bertrand: We are in a down cycle in the crypto market, it is a difficult time to raise funds, but it is the best time to invest. In this kind of period, the teams we meet are much more serious. The bounty hunters are gone. We are not looking for “hit” entrepreneurs, but traditional entrepreneurs who will be fully engaged in their work, excellent at execution and looking to recruit to surround themselves well.

With this fund we left for ten years, during which we should experience two to three cycles of the crypto market, phases of ups and then downs that generally last three years.

Capital: How do you see Web 3, is it a particularly risky market?

Cyril Bertrand: Yes. We are in a somewhat explosive installation phase. Since 2010, cryptocurrencies are in this phase, so it may take another ten years. You need to be well anchored to navigate these waters. And have a conviction: the general thesis behind crypto is a questioning of the centralization of digital giants, so do we think that this form of innovation and decentralization of decision-making will be powerful enough to cause a new wave of construction after Gafa? At XAnge, we have believed in it for a long time, we invested in Ledger in 2014.

It is the first time in my life that I see an opportunity – it is by no means certain – to contest Gafa’s supremacy. It’s impossible to get them with Web 2 tools. What excites us at XAnge is this question: is it possible to build a decentralized Uber that is co-owned by its drivers?

Capital: How does Web 3 differ from other industries and Web 2?

Cyril Bertrand: Web 2 is widely used today, everyone has adopted it. Cryptocurrency is a special sector because it is owned by only about 1% of the world’s population, which reinforces the bubble phenomenon: this 1% sells for the same 1%… we revolve in a finite universe of enthusiasts and technicians.

The objective of the XAnge Digital Property fund is to bring this technology to the remaining 99%. Of course, we won’t achieve it immediately, but if we can already put cryptocurrencies in the hands of 20% of the population, we will have multiplied the market size by 20, which would be colossal and enough to create unicorns in a mess. .

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Capital: How can cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance be more widely used?

Cyril Bertrand: We should focus on simplifying uses. Cryptocurrencies remain a technical environment: you should not choose the wrong account, regularly check access to your wallet (e-wallet, editor’s note), when you accumulate significant amounts, you should move them to a safe place… This is stressful and complicated. This creates uncertainty and makes it impossible to say “try it” to someone.

For easy and common access, we’ll have to move on to something much more common. And that will take a lot of work. Existing tools remain out of reach for ordinary people.

Capital: What do you think is the most promising in Web 3?

Cyril Bertrand: We have a chronological approach. There was a first phase of infrastructure in cryptocurrencies, with layer 1 networks (blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum, editor’s note) and wallets like Ledger. Now there is DeFi (decentralized finance, editor’s note), which offers many possibilities, such as the creation of accounting tools for companies, lending applications (cryptocurrency loans, editor’s note), protocols for increasing deposits and savings. Web 3 also opens up new perspectives in content creation and gaming, which are accompanied by new ways of decentralized governance.

The question is: how will we bring all these innovations into the daily lives of people and businesses? The idea is to bridge the gap between Web 2 and Web 3. There are effective but very complicated solutions in Web 3. We as a Web 2 investor can initially contribute our knowledge of marketing acquisition costs and recruitment tools to distribute Web 3 solutions.

Capital: Do you have any start-ups and apps on the horizon?

Cyril Bertrand: XAnge has already invested in the capital of Coinhouse and Ledger. And most recently, at Request Finance, Dogami and Morpho. The new fund should allow an investment in both equity (capital raising, editor’s note) and tokens (digital tokens, editor’s note). We have sent a request to the AMF to get an extension of approval so that we can invest in tokens.

Among the promising projects we are following, I would particularly mention Kolat (loan service in euros using its crypto-assets as collateral, editor’s note), Pianity (NFT platform dedicated to music, editor’s note), Exorde Labs (tool for exploring and linking public data on the web, editor’s note) or Kinetix Tech (to create 3D animations in the metaverse, editor’s note) and Kanji (to easily create NFTs, editor’s note).

Capital: How many tricolor unicorns do you see on Web 3 in 5 years?

Cyril Bertrand: We already have two, with Sorare and Ledger. If we get to ten, at the rate of two young women a year, that would already be a lot.

Capital: Is the political and legal environment favorable for the actors of the sector?

Cyril Bertrand: The French government in particular and the European Union in general have done a good job. There was almost a major disaster, with the desire to ban proof-of-work (Bitcoin’s block transaction validation system, editor’s note), within the framework of the European MiCa regulation, but the measure was eventually abandoned.

In France we have a very advanced government on this subject, with finance specialists. Crypto entrepreneurs in Germany envy us. We have a beautiful highway ahead of us, but we must remember that we are small compared to the United States, China, and Asia in general, where Web 3 unicorns number in the dozens. They are way ahead of us.


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