“We invest very aggressively in tokens” – An interview with Sebastian Blum

The crypto venture capitalist Greenfield One from Berlin was founded in 2018 by VC veteran Sebastian Blum and serial founder Jascha Samadi. In December, the VC announced the launch of a second fund with a target volume of 50 million euros. The money comes from the investment arm of the international media group Bertelsmann. Sebastian Blum told us in an interview how competitive the Berlin crypto scene is, why the VC also invests in tokens and which topics are particularly on the radar of Greenfield One.

The interview first appeared in the January issue of Kryptokompass .

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Why is there a need for a venture capitalist who only focuses on crypto space? Can’t a normal VC do the job too?

On the one hand, the capital takers are looking for know-how. Since the crypto sector is relatively new, it needs special know-how – and that is in short supply in Europe. In Asia and the USA, VCs specialized in the crypto sector much earlier. On the other hand, we have created a whole new area with cryptocurrencies. We are trying to build a platform for investors on which we pool investor money and market the relevant know-how. We want to enable entry into the completely new asset class of cryptocurrencies.

So the USA is clearly ahead of us as a VC location – or do you also see aspects that speak against the USA?

The US has one major disadvantage: regulation. Other locations are much more open to cryptocurrencies. One example is Switzerland. Many crypto foundations and companies have settled there. Even if Switzerland is not part of the EU, it is still in Europe and therefore within the same time zone.

The fact that the USA still dominates is probably due to historical reasons. It’s just a very big market. The USA has traditionally also been a pioneer in terms of technology companies. There is a high affinity there to disseminate and finance innovation. There are also economies of scale such as larger funds and established partnerships.

And how would you rate the competitiveness of the crypto scene in Europe, especially Berlin, compared to the US?

I think the local crypto scene is definitely competitive. The entrepreneurial spirit is more pronounced in the USA than here. On the other hand, that’s also an advantage. Because it means that we make do with structures here that do not exist in the USA.

In the meantime, Berlin has already built up an insane ecosystem for the crypto sector. With the world’s largest Ethereum Office in Kreuzberg, you have an absolute number here. There are also Parity, Polkadot, Web 3 Foundation, Celo and Cosmos, for example. In Berlin you have an incredibly high concentration of entrepreneurs in the crypto sector. Then we are close to Eastern Europe and thus in close proximity to a strong hacker culture that, due to the current political situation, would rather work in Western Europe than in the USA. We have the opportunity here to become the interface of an alternative, decentralized infrastructure.

You already launched a crypto VC fund in 2018. How is your second crypto fund different?

2018 to 2020 – that is still a relatively short time for a fund. Therefore, the investment focuses are partly the same, partly new. However, we are still in the infrastructure phase for both funds. So it’s about promoting basic innovations and less about really consumable products. However, the new fund is much larger. We are now also investing as a lead investor with much larger sums. That means that we will now be able to appear much more significantly in the investor community.