Stablecoins are becoming big business these days. In a $15 million deal, Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z crypto fund is buying 6 percent of the total MakerDAO maker (MKR) token supply. The investment will give a16z a financial and governance stake in the dai stablecoin.
A stablecoin is a token pegged to another asset, like the dollar. Stablecoins can provide a hedge in the volatile world of crypto trading, especially in exchanges that have no direct link to banking. MakerDAO has two main tokens: dai and MKR. A separate token, MKR works alongside dai to help dai maintain its 1:1 peg with the U.S. dollar.
A16z sees a world of opportunity for stablecoins. “The same volatility that is holding back crypto for payments is also limiting its use for a host of other financial services and products,” a16z partners Katie Haun and Jesse Walden said in a co-written statement.
“Today, it’s not really practical to make a long-term loan in bitcoin because you’d have to consider two independent risks: first that the loan would be repaid, and second, whether the bitcoin would be worth more or less at the time the loan came due.”
The purchase of MKR marks the first investment from a16z’s dedicated $300 million crypto fund. The move was driven by Haun, a former federal prosecutor who led the investigations into the Mt. Gox heist and Silk Road.
According to the terms of the partnership, MakerDAO, a project that runs on Ethereum smart contracts, will receive the operating capital over three years.