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Andreessen Horowitz raises $2.2 billion for a third crypto fund

June 24, 2021, 12:32 PM UTC

Andreessen Horowitz has raised another cryptocurrency fund.

Riding high off recent successes, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm coaxed big-time backers, like pension funds, university endowments, family offices, and others, to pour $2.2 billion into the new investment vehicle. This is the firm’s third crypto-themed endeavor.

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Andreessen Horowitz was one of the earliest venture capital firms to catch on to the significance of crypto, the technology underpinning Bitcoin. In January 2014, when few peers were making similar pronouncements, Marc Andreessen, cofounder of the dotcom mammoth Netscape as well as his namesake VC firm, penned a splashy op-ed for the New York Times that highlighted the tech’s potential.

Andreessen Horowitz’s new fund—dubbed Crypto Fund III—ranks among its biggest fundraisings to date. The fund’s size is surpassed only by a $3.2 billion late-stage startup-backing “growth” fund, which the firm raised last year.

The crypto division at Andreessen Horowitz is led by Chris Dixon, a longtime partner, and Katie Haun, a former federal prosecutor best known for bringing corrupt federal agents in the Silk Road dark-web marketplace case to justice. (Eric Newcomer, a former Bloomberg writer who covers venture capital in a Substack newsletter, reported on rumors of the pair’s giant new fund in May.)

Despite recent volatility across crypto markets, Dixon and Haun expressed undiminished enthusiasm for their area of focus. “We’ve been investing in crypto assets since 2013 and are more excited today about what comes next than ever before,” the team said in a post.

Founded in 2009, Andreessen Horowitz manages nearly $20 billion in total assets. The firm has raised more than $3 billion across its three crypto funds, including a $300 million initial fund in 2018 and a $515 million follow-up last year.

Andreessen Horowitz is coming off a few recent big wins. Coinbase, one of its major bets, went public in an $86 billion direct stock market listing in April. While the company’s market cap has fallen below $50 billion since then, its value is still considerably higher than it was a year ago; the same can be said of the prices of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a host of others.

The firm’s crypto division backs startups and holds cryptocurrencies. The unit has put money behind projects working on price-fixed “stablecoins”; marketplaces for non-fungible tokens or digital collectibles known as NFTs; and efforts to reduce the clunkiness of blockchains, the public accounting ledgers at the heart of crypto.

The firm’s cryptocurrency arm, dubbed “a16z crypto,” is structured more like a hedge fund than a VC fund. This legal framework enables it to move in and out of positions quicker than a traditional VC firm, which faces lockups before an “exit” like an IPO or sale, might.

In addition to announcing the new funding, Andreessen Horowitz made a few appointments to and promotions on its team. The crypto division named Anthony Albanese, former regulatory chief at the New York Stock Exchange, as its chief operating officer. It also added Tomicah Tillemann, a former adviser to President Joe Biden, as global head of policy, and Bill Hinman, former director of the SEC’s corporate finance division, as an advisory partner, among others.

“The size of this fund speaks to the size of the opportunity before us: Crypto is not only the future of finance but, as with the Internet in the early days, is poised to transform all aspects of our lives,” the crypto team said in a post.

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