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The Blox
Investment Thesis

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The Blox

Overview

Building and growing Web3 products is considerably different from what we’ve grown accustomed to in the Web2 space. The era of decentralized applications is changing our current technological and economic paradigms.

Current products are still early adaptations from older Web2 solutions. Unlike Web2, tokens offer Web3 users more power by granting them additional property rights i.e the ability to own a piece of the internet.

We are now slowly entering the phase of growing innovation as some Web3 Protocols are just starting to generate revenue.

Web3 is disrupting Web2 by shifting power from big tech companies to individual users

Applications that are built on blockchain architectures allow for trustless and permissionless access, whereas Web2 applications rely on a centralized database. This makes a big difference when it comes to data ownership and privacy.

With Web3, users now have full ownership of their content, data, and assets thanks to tokens through blockchain technology.

The evolution of the internet could be summed up as follows:

  • Web1.0 is a “read-only” Internet
  • Web2.0 is a “read + write” Internet
  • Web3 is a “read + write + own” Internet.

The crypto space has been pushed forward by large amounts of capital invested in Web3 startups and the fast-expanding blockchain technology that is attracting an increasing number of developers and entrepreneurs.

Adoption of Web3 VS Internet

The Internet was one of the most revolutionary and brilliant inventions of the 20th century.

Many people have hailed blockchain as a similarly disruptive and intelligent technology for the 21st century. Wells Fargo recently released a graphic that depicts how the two began, where they are now, and how they are expected to grow in the future. On the left, the number of internet users (in millions) is displayed, while on the right, the number of crypto users is displayed (in millions).

Both had a slow start, according to the graph, especially in the first few years. It demonstrates that the Internet had roughly 500 million users after eight years. It took less than 25 years for the Internet to reach nearly four billion individuals all over the world.

The technology underpinning crypto, according to Wells Fargo, is following a similar adoption path to that of the internet in the early to mid-1990s, when “consumers still needed time to figure out what the technology is, what it can do and how it can benefit them.”

The growing number of crypto users, like the internet, implies that “the world is beginning to adopt the technology – and rapidly.

“If this trend continues, cryptocurrencies could soon exit the early adoption phase and enter an inflection point of hyper-adoption, similar to other technologies,” said the report. “There is a point where adoption rates begin to rise and do not look back.”

The crypto market capitalization has also been expanding rapidly having institutions and media come around to admit that crypto was too big to be ignored and here to stay.

On a global scale, the largest entrenched assets are starting to see crypto’s market cap climb up the ladder.

Largest assets ranked by market capitalization (Nov, 2021)

  • Derivatives: $1000T
  • Global real estate (residential & commercial): $220T
  • Global bond/debt/fixed income market: $125T
  • Global stocks (equities): $115T
  • Global cash (narrow money): $40T
  • Global cash (broad money): $90T
  • Gold: $12T
  • Crypto (all): $2.2T
  • Silver: $1.4T

The global crypto startup landscape is exploding with Unicorns

  • More than 50 crypto startups raised over $100 million in 2021.
  • Venture Capitalists invested $30 billion in crypto startups in 2021.
  • The global crypto market cap went over $3 trillion.

The crypto industry is witnessing large VC funding, with VCs investing over $30 billion in crypto projects in 2021, concluding nearly 1,278 deals up to November. The year 2021 brought crypto startups to the epicenter of the tech fundraising scene, with crypto projects raising over $20 million per day throughout the year and the average raise shooting up to $3.3 million from $1.5 million in 2020. With more crypto projects bringing forth cutting-edge platforms, VCs will take into account factors such as geographic region, net value add through the project (developer access, tokenomics, liquidity, and governance model), and the current stage of the project, late-stage or early-stage, to maintain the competitiveness of their crypto portfolios.

NFT industry continues to expand as newcomers enter the space

Because the NFT market is such a minor part of the $1.7 trillion worldwide art market, several of the top categories, such as art, continue to grow. In addition, collections may be phased out in favor of NFTs that provide utility, whether through gated membership, cash flows, or other forms of subscription value. 

The NFT market continues to grow, with over $28 billion in total sales, as newcomers enter the space and new companies issue non-fungible tokens based on existing or new intellectual property.

Avatar, Art, and Collectibles NFTs account for a great bulk of the volume, similar to the market capitalization table below. 

Blockchain gaming: GameFi and Metaverse

Blockchain-based Games can be bona fide economies in which players own the digital goods they work hard to obtain, allowing them to buy, trade, or simply transfer them to another game. This is a fundamental difference from popular games like Roblox, GTA V, or Fortnite.

Blockchain-based games aim to create new digital worlds and economies and some of the largest video game companies like Ubisoft have already deployed Web3 alternatives for issuing in-game assets. Ubisoft has also recently started a Web3 incubator program for video game startups.

Decentralized blockchain games allow content creators to make money using new mechanisms. From tools to avatars to skins all the way to in-game experience points, NFTs are held by the players and may be sold for real money, traded on secondary markets, and transferred across games.

Many people in the Philippines used “play-to-earn” games like Axie Infinity as labor during the Coronavirus outbreak to alleviate economic troubles brought on by lockdowns.

Over the year 2021, investors have been showing tremendous interest in the blockchain gaming ecosystem. The space has raised more than 35x compared to the previous highest year.

Blockchain Gaming Venture Fundraising Growth

The past decade has witnessed a meaningful shift in consumer behavior as the value of digital goods, money, and assets are omnipresent.

Pretty much like the internet today, the Metaverse will rely on infrastructure, standards, and regulatory frameworks, the majority of which are still under development.

It is anticipated that there will be several Metaverses, all of which will be linked. That’s why any Metaverse must be trustless — that is, anybody can connect directly without going via an intermediary — and permissionless — meaning, anyone can join without a governing body’s permission.

To do so, the Metaverse will use blockchain to transmit identity and ownership between virtual worlds, as well as attestation and payment rails to allow users to buy, sell, and generate income in a decentralized economy.

The Timeline to Web3 and The Metaverse

The internet grew to be much more than its original purpose, but its core characteristics remained. Similarly, the Metaverse’s fundamental value will be applications powered by composable data, new collaborative experiences, and a deeper sense of digital life at a personal level.

To visualize how the Web3 layer interacts with the Metaverse, the underlying infrastructure of the Metaverse could be represented from the point of view of the Web3 end consumer as follows:

Even though we are still in what a16z call the “skeuomorphic” era, Web3’s fundamental building blocks are starting to shape up.

What is The Blox Accelerator?

The Blox has developed strong expertise in various web3 areas from DeFi to NFTs all the way to the open Metaverse and chains interoperability. The program is designed to support our early-stage startups and pass along this knowledge to our founders through the acceleration period.

Each cohort usually consists of 5 teams building their product for a period of 3 months. The programs are custom based on each cohort’s needs. We provide strategic support to help you and your team get your project off the ground.

Throughout this fast-moving experience, we introduce founders to our network of mentors, VCs, corporate partners, and companies already in our portfolio to identify and create synergies for your project.

During the program, our team also provides its expertise on different levels including, pitching, marketing, go-to-market, token models, legal, and funding.

What is the program about?

Investment

  • We invest up to $100K in your startup in exchange for tokens and equity. 
  • You get up to $200K perks from our strategic partners such as AWS, Github, Notion etc.
  • At the end of the program, you’ll have the opportunity to present your project to trusted Web3 investors in our ecosystem for a follow-on investment.

Mentor Network

The knowledge founders receive during the program saves them precious time to focus on other key areas and increases their chances of success. We built a community comprised of world-class experts to connect our founders to successful entrepreneurs, c-level executives, marketers, experienced advisors, and legal professionals, all having a proven track record with a minimum of 5 years in a specific field.

Community & Marketing

We believe communities in Web3 are more important than the product to some extent. We help founders define an appropriate strategy to build a dynamic and engaged community throughout the program. The Blox team also advises on growth, content strategy, design, branding, and effective social media communication.

Strategic advice & feedback

Startups are fully integrated with our team and benefit directly from The Blox’s resources and valuable human capital. Our expert team will advise on your token model, whitepaper, marketing roadmap, go-to-market strategy, business model, and pitch deck. We can also bring technical expertise in conception, PoC/MVP development, user feedback, and alpha/beta testing.

Founders we’re looking for

As opposed to Web2, the idea that underpins your project is not necessarily the most crucial element. The composition of your team and the engagement of your community may often have a greater impact on the potential success of your project than the idea itself.

Tech founders

We believe having tech founders is critical to ensuring the project’s viability and adherence to the roadmap. Even though founders who apply to The Blox acceleration program should have a technical background, they don’t necessarily need a previous experience in Web3. This component is important because it allows us to focus on operations, save money and time, and iterate faster.

Full-time commitment

Founders must be fully invested in the project. The goal of accelerating your startup is to bring your product to market fast. In order to succeed, founders need to focus on every aspect of the program and believe in their project. Also, your enthusiasm and leadership ability should speak volumes.

Flexibility

Our team, mentors, and investors are long-time experts in their space and have the ability to quickly identify the strengths and weaknesses of a project. Therefore, we might advise refocusing some parts of your model or strategy during the acceleration process. The only reason we would do that is to increase your chances of success. Founders should always try to reduce risk and pivot when it’s needed. If you can demonstrate flexibility, accept criticism, and reiterate fast, you will more likely create a favorable outcome for your project.

Pragmatism

We’re looking for resourceful founders who always strive to find efficient and cost-effective ways to deliver. This simply shows how much you care about your company’s future by solving early-stage problems and having a long-term vision. Founders with pragmatic thinking and an analytical approach make a big difference in the success of a project.

Ideas we’re looking for

Ambitious projects that fail to deliver on their promises are commonplace in the Web3 ecosystem. We support projects that aim to add real value to the ecosystem. The following criteria should help you determine whether or not your product is compatible with our aspirations.

Here are some Web3 areas we’re particularly interested in, but not limited to them:

  • Metaverse / Gaming
  • NFT projects
  • Decentralized identity
  • DAOs
  • DeFi
  • Middlewares
  • Oracles
  • Protocols

Products that solve a problem

Product-market fit is paramount for sustainable growth. Your product should provide a solution to specific problems users are facing. It wouldn’t make sense to push a product that doesn’t bring sustainable value to customers.

✅ We will strongly consider the following:

  • Your product is different from all other projects out there and brings value to its target users
  • Your product is an improved version of an existing solution with advanced features that make you stand out and ahead of your competitor
  • Your product piggybacks on existing products that already have traction and bring value by solving specific users’ problems

You should understand who your customers are and what makes your value proposition strong and resilient.

Realistic ideas

Few investors will be willing to risk their money on your startup if you plan to revolutionize an industry without a concrete benchmark and market analysis to compare the unique properties of your product to the other players.

When you build a company from the ground up, you need to formulate clearly the different levels of feasibility that might impact your project in one way or another. We love founders who have a coherent vision and set realistic expectations for their products.

Relevant blockchain use case and token utility

Not all ideas require the use of blockchain technology. In some cases, a good old centralized architecture is more efficient. We don’t want founders to feel the urge to use tokens in everything and anything just to blend in. The use of pertinent technology for your product has to prevail. We’ll pay attention to your tokenomics and, if necessary, assist you in conceptualizing the token model or choosing the right technology.

Applications are open twice a year. Feel free to apply to our next cohort and share this post with anyone you think might be interested or is a good fit to join us. Sign up for our newsletter using the form below or follow us on socials to get updated.