Olaf Carlson-Wee Explains Why DeFi And NFTs Will Succeed Where ICOs Fell Short

Polychain Capital founder Olaf Carlson-Wee became a poster boy of the initial coin offering (ICO) boom when he appeared on the cover of Forbes’ July 2017 issue under the caption, “Craziest Bubble Ever.” At the time, the crypto market was in the midst of an unprecedented climb that would see bitcoin approach $20,000, a level that it would not revisit for another three years. Before breaking off on his own, Carlson-Wee was Coinbase’s very first hire and ultimately led its risk management. 

Fast forward to today, and the market is once again breaking records and Olaf’s venture capital/hedge fund Polychain has more than $4 billion in assets under management. However instead of ICOs, which were white hot in the crypto bubble of 2017, the new crazes are decentralized finance (DeFi) applications and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

I spoke with him to find out his takeaways from the ICO craze and whether he believes that history is going to repeat itself with these new trends. He also shared fascinating insight into decentralized governance structures, how DeFi platforms can use them to bootstrap traction and then ultimately scale, and how he is approaching the NFT space.

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