Crypto VC exits were low in Q4 2023, Phantom MAU’s reach new highs and spot bitcoin ETF volumes are still rising
4 mins read

Crypto VC exits were low in Q4 2023, Phantom MAU’s reach new highs and spot bitcoin ETF volumes are still rising


Welcome to TechCrunch Crypto, formerly known as Chain Reaction.

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Hello and welcome back to the new and improved TechCrunch Crypto newsletter. This is our fifth edition with, of course, regularly scheduled news bits, but also some recurring segments and features — so if you like what you see (or don’t), let me know at [email protected].

This week roses were red, violets were blue, the crypto market was green — for all of you. If you follow me on X, you might have already seen me post this, but if you don’t, I’m sharing the love here, too.

Anyways, let’s get into it. Here’s what you missed this week: Spot bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. turned one month old, Phantom crypto wallet reached new heights for monthly active users last month and crypto VC exits were soft in Q4 2023. More below.

Scheduling note: I’ll be OOO next week, so there won’t be a newsletter.

This week in web3

  1. Crypto exits remain low but investors remain unfazed
  2. Solana-based DeFi, airdrops propel crypto wallet Phantom’s user base to new heights
  3. This gaming startup tries to show ‘AI + crypto’ is not a fad
  4. As spot bitcoin ETF volumes continue to rise, Bitwise Asset Management predicts a high ceiling for growth

Crunching numbers

This week the crypto market was looking quite bullish as the two biggest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, bitcoin and ether, both rose about 16.5% on the week, according to CoinMarketCap data. The total crypto market cap increased 14% over a seven-day period to $1.96 trillion.

Earlier this week, Solana also briefly took over as the fourth largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, surpassing the BNB token, which has since regained the position. Solana’s market cap is about $3 billion behind BNB and its price is up almost 11% on the week.

Our favorite ‘Crypto Twitter’ post

Calling all developers who didn’t have dates on Valentine’s Day and tweet about zero-knowledge roll upsthis one is, unfortunately, for you. For those of you who did have plans, it might be time to fight back.

A screenshot of a post on X by Aubrey Strobel

Image Credits: X (opens in a new window)

The latest pod

Chain Reaction is doing a monthly series diving into different topics and themes in crypto. This month we’re focusing on NFTs.

For this week’s episode, I interviewed Yat Siu, co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands.

Yat co-founded Animoca in 2014 and since then it has invested in more than 400 web3 projects across a range of sectors like DeFi, education, infrastructure, blockchain gaming and the metaverse.

Animoca also has its own NFT collections, blockchain products and games, like its web3 NFT-based community Mocaverse, the blockchain game and NFT collection REVV Racing and The Sandbox, a decentralized virtual world with over 40 million mobile installs. The company has also worked with other well-known brands and personalities, like Disney, WWE, Power Rangers, The Walking Dead, Formula E and Snoop Dogg.

Yat and I discuss the importance of digital property rights, growing NFT communities and what makes a project stand out from others.

We also dive into:

  • Evolution of NFT’s IP
  • Building brand familiarity
  • Asia embracing web3 and NFTs
  • The global race for adoption

Subscribe to Chain Reaction on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite pod platform to keep up with the latest episodes, and please leave us a review if you like what you hear!

Follow the money

  1. Trading-focused Architect raised $12 million round led by BlockTower and Tioga Capital
  2. Fordefi raised $10 million to launch wallet-as-a-service in round led by Electric Capital
  3. Anzen raised $4 million to provide access to yields backed by real-world assets
  4. Mercure DAO raised $1.5 million for its web3 incubator
  5. Analog raised $16 million in seed round to build cross-chain infrastructure

This list was compiled with information from Messari as well as TechCrunch’s own reporting.

What else we’re writing

Want to branch out from the world of web3? Here are some articles on TechCrunch that caught our attention this week.

  1. Bluesky and Mastodon users are having a fight that could shape the next generation of social media
  2. Foundry Group is shutting down and won’t raise another fund
  3. ChatGPT will now remember — and forget — things you tell it to
  4. Hackers uncover new TheTruthSpy stalkerware victims: Is your Android device compromised?
  5. If you’re going to market, your GTM slide needs to be awesome





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