EXCLUSIVE: Top Mastercard Exec Talks Web3, Says 'Now Is The Time Put Your Head Down And Build'

Zinger Key Points
  • A panel about raising VC in Web3 at the 2022 Benzinga Future of Crypto summit discussed the concerns of traditional finance.
  • Mastercard Director of Startup Engagement advised that projects should keep focusing on user value.

Grace Berkery, director of startup engagement for Mastercard MA, addressed some of the misgivings of large, traditional finance about investing in Web3 projects in 2022, during Benzinga’s Future of Crypto annual summit in NYC. The conversation took place in the context of the “Status of Venture Funding in Crypto and Web3” panel discussion.

“It’s an opportunity, but it’s a good time to reset. Right now, people should put their heads down and build. You will be better off in the long term,” Berkery said.

Andra Nicolau, head of business development for Origin Protocol concurred, pointing out the contrast between 2022 and 2021 in terms of investor attitudes toward taking chances on blockchain projects.

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“Last year we raised about $300 million. At some point, you just sit back and watch the money coming in. This year is completely different. Investors are being incredibly selective and careful in their due diligence,” Nicolau said.

Building Organic Traction

The panel, which included Matt Higgins, co-founder & CEO of RSE Ventures, and Greg Carson, head of Corporate Development and Ventures for XBTO Group, was unanimous in the belief that projects should be “building organic traction, acquiring users; then when the product is working go and raise capital” - as Nicolau stated.

Carson pointed out that fundraising tends to go in four-to-six-month cycles and it’s something that projects should revisit regularly as they develop their offerings and the market begins to change.

Partnerships with traditional finance should also be a strategic consideration.

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“At Mastercard, we take a partnership-first approach. We aren’t the experts in the space,” Berkery said.

Value-added services, including analytics, identity and security, were mentioned as areas of interest among traditional investors. Loyalty use cases, NFTs, and metaverse are also points of interest.

Higgins concluded, “I’ve never had more FOMO. The charlatans are leaving the space.”

Watch the full panel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cABs4mq_Vd0

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Posted In: CryptocurrencyExclusivesMarketsInterviewFOCWeb3
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