Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Crypto VCs Spill Startup Secrets at EthCC

The startups success strategies shared highlight the power of influencer marketing and ICO strategies for success in the dynamic crypto landscape

Shashank Bhardwaj
Published: Jul 21, 2023 03:22:20 PM IST
Updated: Jul 21, 2023 03:56:30 PM IST

Crypto VCs Spill Startup Secrets at EthCCImage: Shutterstock

At the Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC) in Paris, prominent venture capitalists (VCs) shared valuable insights on strategies for startup success in the rapidly evolving crypto market. 

Ryan Barney, an investor at Pantera Capital, recommended that startups focus on selling to exclusive clientele or whales/VIPs instead of scaling initially. He highlighted the Blur airdrop as an example of how a well-designed airdrop could boost traction.

Barney also mentioned that initial coin offerings (ICOs) and influencer marketing have yet to work well recently. Regulatory challenges have made it difficult for institutions to participate in ICOs, and influencer marketing has faced non-disclosure of conflicts of interest and follower manipulation.

However, Tony Cheng from Foresight Ventures disagreed, stating that influencer marketing is essential in crypto since paid marketing through platforms like Google and Facebook is not allowed for crypto companies. He emphasised the importance of key opinion leaders (KOLs) in driving users to crypto platforms through social media. 

Cheng further warned against reckless influencer marketing and advised projects to align with KOLs and ensure their messages resonate with their user base. He also noted the recent regulatory ruling in SEC v. Ripple, suggesting that founders should consider non-institutional token sales or ICOs to gain traction, as they were deemed legitimate when sold to retail investors. 

Cheng went on to advise caution in using ICOs until further regulatory clarity is established. He suggested that the favourable ruling on retail sales could be applied to various fundraising mechanisms similar to ICOs, potentially making ICOs the primary means of fundraising in the future.

Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, joined the conversation at the EthCC and shed light on Ethereum's account abstraction history and the latest proposal for non-custodial wallets. 

Aave meanwhile announced the launch of Lens Protocol V2, an upgrade to its web3 product. It will feature "open actions" to connect on-chain elements to social content, fostering a decentralised social networking ecosystem. 

Overall, the insights shared at EthCC offer valuable lessons for startups looking to navigate the competitive and ever-changing landscape of the crypto industry, emphasising the significance of targeted marketing, KOLs, and a cautious approach to regulatory compliance.

Shashank is the founder of yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash