Investing in Trust and Access through Trust and Access

In no particular order, I consider Union Square Ventures, Andreesson Horowitz, and Sequioa Capital to be three of the very best venture firms in the world. I have read writing from each of them. I have followed a number of their investments. I have listened to many of their partners speak on podcasts. As a result, I have come to value their perspectives and trust their judgements. While I appreciate that some of their individual investments will fail, I believe that their portfolios overall will continue to be extremely successful.

When two or three of these top VCs share an investment in common, that gives me as much confidence as I could have in a company without knowing anything about it. I can then learn about the company myself in order to evaluate it from my own perspective. This is where one of my core beliefs becomes extremely important. My belief is that “I don’t know much, but at least I know that”. Knowing that I do not know much allows me to let the positive evaluations of the ultra- smart and successful venture capitalists I have come to trust carry even more weight than my own perspective. Instead of relying on my judgement about a particular asset, I can rely on my judgement of other people’s judgement. I have much more conviction in that than I do in my ability to effectively evaluate a crypto-powered VPN, especially without having had the opportunity to meet the team.

That is what Orchid is. Orchid is a crypto-powered VPN. As of this past weekend, Orchid is also my largest crypto investment besides Bitcoin and Ethereum. I do not have nearly as much money in Orchid as I do in the other two for a number of reasons, but there are two big reasons why I have invested as much in it as I have. It comes down to trust and access.

Sequoia and Andreesson Horowitz are invested in Orchid. Sequoia, Andreesson Horowitz, and USV are all invested in a crypto investment firm called Polychain Capital. Polychain Capital is invested in Orchid too. Sequoia and USV are invested in another crypto investment firm called MetaStable Capital. MetaStable Capital was founded by Naval Ravikant whose individual investing perspective I trust similarly to many of the top partners at these top VC firms. MetaStable Capital is invested in Orchid as well. This is where I get my conviction in my investment. I understand from a very rudimentary perspective why a crypto-powered VPN could be powerful, but my conviction is not so much in the product as it is in the people who have earned my trust. My conviction is in my judgement in determining who to trust. Ultimately, it all comes down to trusting my judgment itself.

When it comes to investing, however, trust is not the only thing that matters. Another thing that matters, unfortunately, is access. All people cannot access the same investment opportunities. Most people know Zoom by now. Most of us with access to an investing platform like Charles Schwab or Robinhood could investment in Zoom if we wanted to. We could not have invested in Zoom three years ago. It was not a public company yet. VCs like Sequoia could, and they did so at a much lower valuation than the average person ever had the opportunity to. When it comes to assets that are appreciating in value, investing earlier is better. Few people outside of investment firms and accredited investors have access to those early investments. It is a great opportunity when we do.

My access to investing in crypto comes through having a computer, internet access, and a Coinbase account. Coinbase is an exchange on which 20 different crypto assets can be traded. USV, Andreeson Horowitz, and Polychain Capital have all invested in Coinbase. I trust it for those reasons. I have also developed some level of trust in its CEO Brian Armstrong and former CTO Balaji Srinivasan. I have enjoyed Coinbase as a user and I have come to trust it to a high degree. I trust that Coinbase as an organization in aggregate knows more about the world of crypto assets than I do, many degrees of magnitude more. I trust that the crypto assets they offer on their exchange are at least not scams and at the most some of the best 20 investments out of the thousands of crypto assets that exist. Of course, just like the VCs I trust the most, I do not expect Coinbase to be perfect in all of its picks, but rather exceptional overall.

Besides Bitcoin and Ethereum, I have more conviction in my investment in Orchid than in any other crypto asset. I was able to develop that conviction through trust. Conveniently, Orchid is also by far the smallest crypto asset that I have access to invest in through Coinbase. For good investments, smallness is equivalent to earliness. With that earliness comes more risk, but also multitudes more upside.

Trust and access are core to what makes Bitcoin and Orchid so cool and revolutionary. They allow us to trust in peer-to-peer networks instead of institutions. In doing so, they compromise the power of those institutions and return control to the individuals themselves in many ways, including access.

And so, it is only fitting that trust and access have become critical parts of my thesis for investing, essentially, in trust and access.

Note: If you would like to create an account to invest in Coinbase or learn more about Orchid, you can follow through the links in the text of this sentence. I would receive minimal crypto rewards no different than the ones you would receive if you were to later share your links in the same way.