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This week I’ve been in San Francisco for TechCrunch Disrupt 2023. It’s been a three-day journey jam-packed with panels, booths and conversations around tech, AI, space, security and, of course, crypto. You can check out all the news coverage here.

During the event, 20 startups pitched their companies live as part of TechCrunch Startup Battlefield at Disrupt 2023. These companies were selected as the best of the Startup Battlefield 200 and competed for a chance to take home the Startup Battlefield Cup and $100,000. Here are the six finalists.

As for me, I moderated four onstage panels, including two separate fireside chats with major VC players like a16z’s Arianna Simpson and Haun Ventures’ Chris Lehane. (Details on that below.)

And don’t worry, we’ll be rolling out more crypto coverage from the conference — including a story on the blockchain-focused panel I moderated with Anatoly Yakovenko, co-founder and CEO of Solana Labs; Grace Torrellas, VP of product and product lead at Polygon zkEVM; and Mo Shaikh, co-founder and CEO of Aptos Labs.

Anyways, let’s get into it.

Crypto at Disrupt 2023

  1. After cutting ties with Binance, Checkout.com says crypto companies are about 4% of its total processing volume
  2. a16z’s Arianna Simpson believes crypto will be just fine, thank you for asking
  3. Libra’s co-creator had geopolitical motivations to build the digital currency (TC+)
  4. Alpha3D wants to accelerate digital asset and AI-powered generation through cheaper, hyperscaling technology

This week in web3

  1. PayPal’s PYUSD stablecoin is now available on Venmo
  2. Aptos Labs adds Coinbase Pay to its Petra crypto wallet
  3. 8 web3 gaming experts discuss hurdles and opportunities in the road to wider adoption (TC+)
  4. Blockchain Capital launches two new funds for a total of $580M
  5. Web3 adoption could come via the enterprise, but the real boom will be through startups (TC+)

The latest pod

For this week’s episode, Jacquelyn did a live interview with Chris Lehane, chief strategy officer at Haun Ventures, at TechCrunch’s Disrupt 2023 in San Francisco.

Prior to joining the firm, Chris was an executive at Airbnb. He also co-founded a strategic consultancy firm, Fabiani & Lehane, that advised political, corporate, technology, entertainment and professional sports clients. In the 1990s, Chris held various government roles like press secretary to Vice President Al Gore and was special assistant counsel to President Bill Clinton.

After a number of decades working across different industries, Chris landed in the world of crypto at Haun Ventures, a web3-focused venture capital firm that has two investment vehicles: a $500 million early-stage fund and a $1 billion acceleration fund. Aside from Haun, he is also a member of Coinbase’s Global Advisory Council.

We discussed Haun’s investment strategy amid U.S. and global regulatory challenges, how the firm advises portfolio companies to navigate the ever-changing environment and whether Chris find’s the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s regulation tactics productive, among other things.

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. Mesh, which helps people manage their digital assets, raised $22 million
  2. Former Farmville co-creator raised $33 million for its blockchain gaming startup Proof of Play
  3. Lens Protocol-based app Orb raised $2.3 million to grow web3 social
  4. Crypto analytics platform CoinScan emerges from stealth with $6.3 million raise
  5. Decentralized market protocol Freatic raises $3.6 million in round led by a16z

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. Cisco to acquire Splunk in $28B mega deal
  2. As Robinhood eyes global expansion, CEO says: ‘We’ve made a lot of progress’
  3. How Reed Jobs’ venture firm tackles cancer
  4. Shaquille O’Neal talks investing in edtech and startups that are going to ‘change people’s lives’
  5. Why is Y Combinator so defensive lately?

Follow me on Twitter @Jacqmelinek for breaking crypto news, memes and more.

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