Why I Joined CoinFund — Dmitry Lapidus


Why I Joined CoinFund — Dmitry Lapidus

I am very excited to announce that I have joined the investment team at CoinFund to help the firm research, invest in, and champion the leaders of the new internet. Together with my colleagues, I am looking forward to dedicating my time and effort on supporting the formation of a future internet and financial system that is more transparent, objective and equitable.

How did we get here?

It’s a rarity in life when passion, personal experience, and professional pursuits align, and as I recount the path that led me here, it feels like a serendipitous culmination of all three. When I first began to learn about Bitcoin and distributed ledger technology in 2010, these experiences kicked off a fascination with how crypto and alternative approaches to incentive design could reshape the critical systems we take for granted. Moreover, crypto’s early roots felt very logical and familiar to me as I had grown up and lived in countries plagued by weak legal frameworks, unstable banking systems, arbitrary asset seizures, and high inflation. Understanding why this dysfunction occurred was thus much more than just an academic or statistical curiosity. Witnessing the effects of these flawed incentive structures first hand made me question the very core mechanics of our existing socioeconomic systems, and eventually, I found my way down the rabbit hole. Drawn to the audacity of early hackers and inspired by the ideals behind the Crypto Wars of the 1990s, I came to appreciate the transformative power of technology. In the 1980s and 1990s, the forward-thinking Cypherpunks predicted some of the major challenges faced by internet users today: ensuring security, privacy, and anonymity in an environment that’s inherently open and insecure. Individuals like Wei Dai (who proposed “b-money”) and Hal Finney (who developed “Reusable Proof of Work”) laid down foundational concepts that would later be integral to cryptocurrencies. Through their advocacy for privacy and decentralization, and foundational discussions on digital money, the Cypherpunk movement profoundly influenced the ethos and technological underpinnings of today’s cryptocurrency movement. It thus became evident to me that the true beauty of technology lies in its ability to disrupt and reshape systems, and in no domain was this more promising than in finance.

The traditional financial system, anchored in permissions and subjective application of the rules of conduct, is now being challenged by the concept of programmable money and permissionless finance. Traditional systems may not overtly display the permissions granted by banks and governments, but they are ever-present. However, just as “absolute power corrupts absolutely”, centralized systems concentrate power and decision-making in the hands of a few, potentially leading to misconduct, unchecked abuses and a lack of transparency. An over-reliance on centralized institutions for dispute resolution, problem-solving, and coordination can stifle innovation, reduce adaptability, and introduce significant vulnerabilities due to single points of failure. In contrast, laws grounded in mathematics and code offer consistency, clarity, objectivity, stability, and a neutral foundation, making them less susceptible to the subjective whims and biases that human-dictated laws might possess. The transparency and predictability of smart contracts (such as those underpinning permissionless and non-custodial platforms like MakerDAO, Aave and Compound) starkly contrasts the opaque mechanics of the traditional financial system, and I believe structures without such barriers hold great promise, recognizing the fundamental role of money in human society. These platforms have also showcased their anti-fragility during various crises, reducing counterparty risk, and operating seamlessly and as intended even when their centralized counterparts faced collapses and crises of confidence. Similarly, we have seen clear evidence of product-market fit in stablecoins, underscoring their utility in decentralized finance, payments and as a safeguard against economic volatility in emerging markets. In this light, cryptocurrency can be seen as a response to a system that hasn’t fully earned our trust, and a shift towards reclaiming financial independence and autonomy.

Moreover, while our industry challenges the current financial paradigm, our focus remains on clear and structured governance, and though we aim to upend the status quo, we see ourselves as architects of a structured future, crafting more robust societal systems, engaging with incumbents and their regulators in the process as collaborators, not as adversaries. Inspired by this movement, my belief in a better future found its echo in CoinFund’s philosophy. The beauty of a system where every participant, regardless of their background or resources, can access and contribute to the network remains a powerful vision, and in this, I saw the potential to address the very issues I had witnessed growing up. With the recent surge in crypto’s popularity and the advancement of blockchain technology, this vision is inching closer to broad-scale realization. The realm of cryptocurrency and blockchain, with its emphasis on decentralization, trustlessness, permissionless systems, and transparency, offers a distinct glimmer of hope. This is not just a technological evolution — it is a societal revolution in the making.

Why CoinFund?

Among the more attractive aspects of this opportunity are CoinFund’s institutional pedigree, a truly long-term commitment to this industry, the team’s convergence of crypto native and traditional finance experience, and a track record of being early to critical industry trends. The combination of big picture top-down investing, together with highly technical bottom-up engineering expertise also provides a truly unique perspective, and is further highlighted by CoinFund’s ongoing commitment to pushing the industry forward through technical research, thought leadership and engagement with regulators and governments. In addition to my primary role of recommending investment opportunities and supporting our portfolio companies, I am particularly excited to help develop a set of industry wide best practices and advocate for the growth and maturing process of our nascent industry.

Moreover, I am thrilled to build out CoinFund’s presence in Asia, a region that is increasingly becoming more and more important to developers, investors and overall industry participants. Asia faces inherent macroeconomic and demographic tailwinds for the growth of crypto where countries consistently rank very highly in adoption surveys, while emerging regulatory clarity could also prove to be a significant catalyst to further adoption. While we are used to hearing about US regulatory headwinds, outside of the US the story is quite different and we have seen continued positive developments by way of new legislation, increased adoption of digital assets, and continued growth into the research and development of CBDCs. Asia’s governments and regulators have increasingly embraced a friendly and open-minded stance toward digital assets, providing the much needed scope to set clearly defined rules for all stakeholders. Regulatory frameworks around cryptocurrencies in Asian countries (most notably in Singapore, Hong Kong and the UAE) are becoming clearer and more direct, with regulators openly engaging with the industry and soliciting public feedback on issues such as retail trading access, stablecoin adoption and payments. Such a welcoming backdrop is proving to be successful in attracting businesses and investors alike, and has increased adoption, usage and developer activity in the region such that today more than 600 blockchain companies currently call the region home. From nimble start-ups carving out innovative solutions to tech giants scaling blockchain concepts, and even governments fostering regulatory sandboxes, collaboration is the name of the game. With more than 45% of CoinFund’s current portfolio already headquartered outside of the US, that game is also a truly global one.

Despite the challenges posed by several high-profile crises and regulatory headwinds, the industry is forging ahead, continuing to demonstrate its resilience and adaptability, driven by continued innovation in the areas of scaling, composability and interoperability, and increasing interest in tokenization of real world assets — areas the CoinFund team understands in depth and has made significant investments in. CoinFund’s structure is also particularly well positioned to capture an industry recovery, and I am excited to contribute to the firm’s liquid strategy and deploy capital to areas of interest including DeFi, Layer 1s, Layer 2s, consumer facing applications, and many others. While crypto markets have attracted immense investor interest in recent years, most institutional capital has flowed into venture investing rather than the liquid market. Meanwhile, as most crypto projects are in their infancy, the space also offers venture-like returns with public market liquidity. The combination of these factors and this resulting imbalance presents a significant and very attractive opportunity for investors adept at navigating liquid crypto markets, enabling them to achieve superior risk-adjusted returns. CoinFund’s role in the crypto ecosystem across both liquid and venture markets is well-known, but my decision to join was fuelled by more than just the platform, reputation and track record — it felt like joining a congregation of like-minded tech enthusiasts, each one deeply committed to sculpting the future of finance. Our role doesn’t end at innovation; we’re also educators. Amidst challenges, we must stay focused on our vision: guiding capital towards more sustainable and better systems. It’s not just about investments and returns; it’s about championing a cause, pushing the boundaries, and being at the forefront of a transformation. I find myself grateful for the chance to be part of something creative and beautiful, standing on the shoulders of giants and the pioneering, free-spirited thinkers and entrepreneurs before us who had the imagination, audacity and ambition of embarking on the challenge of building a better, more robust, and objective financial system. In joining CoinFund, I aim to contribute to this burgeoning field, leveraging my passion for technology, and my professional and personal experiences.

Crypto’s ambitions and scope have grown more than I could have ever imagined over a decade ago. Pursuing this vision involves a blend of innovation, expertise, talent and resources capable of driving transformative changes across industries. Joining CoinFund and partnering with peers who I consider some of the best minds in the space, I’m thrilled to contribute to realizing this ambition. To everyone in the crypto realm, and those on the fringes looking in, I extend an invitation to collaborate, challenge, and co-create. Here’s to a future where finance is not just a tool for a few but an empowering force for all.

Should you, or someone in your network, be in the process of developing a protocol, infrastructure or application that you think I’d find of interest, please feel free to reach out directly!

Email: dmitry@coinfund.io; Telegram: @dmitrycoinfund

Why I Joined CoinFund — Dmitry Lapidus was originally published in The CoinFund Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.