A blockchain billionaire’s big bet – TechCrunch


Hello and welcome back to the Chain Reaction podcast, where we unpack and explain the latest crypto news, drama and trends, breaking it down block by block for the crypto curious.

Although we’re in a crypto market pullback, 30-year-old blockchain billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) managed to scrounge up over $600 million to buy 7.6% of trading platform Robinhood. Anita and Lucas talked about why the investment made financial sense for SBF even in this market, and what he might be scheming up for the company now that he has voting rights.

Robinhood has had a rough first half of the year and has launched a bunch of new products in a push to attract users to stick it out through a bear market. One of those products is a non-custodial crypto wallet, which CEO Vlad Tenev announced this week at the Permissionless conference in Florida, so we took some time to go over what a non-custodial wallet actually is, what types of users tend to like it and how Robinhood’s offering stacks up against competitors’ like Coinbase.

Speaking of, Coinbase said this week that it would be slowing its hiring plans because of the crypto market crash, so we talked about what that means for companies and job seekers. We also gave listeners an update on the latest drama surrounding the disgraced UST — the stablecoin that (kind of) started it all.

Our guest: Mercedes Bent of Lightspeed

Our guest this week was Mercedes Bent, a consumer and crypto investor at Lightspeed Venture Partners who helped us unpack the loaded term that is the “metaverse” and why she thinks it’s already here.

We also talked about what crypto companies need to do to appeal to consumers and build out their user experience at this early stage of development. Mercedes shared some of the long-term potential she’s seeing in consumer-focused web3 products such as video games.

Chain Reaction podcast episodes come out every Thursday at 12:00 p.m. PDT. Subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify or your alternative podcast platform of choice to keep up with us every week.



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