- NFX’s Morgan Beller has spent years thinking about how to bring novices into the crypto market.
- She says startups such as Gelt and Rocket Dollar, and even Visa, are lowering the barrier to entry.
- This article is part of “Master Your Crypto,” a series from Insider helping investors improve their skills in and knowledge of cryptocurrency.
The downturn has sent the price of cryptocurrencies crashing, erasing more than $2 trillion from the market in just eight months. But for people who are new to crypto, the collapse gives them a window into the market. They see a chance to buy digital assets while prices are low, anticipating that the long-term value of their investments will rise.
Morgan Beller, an avid crypto investor and general partner at the venture firm NFX, has spent years thinking about how to make the crypto market a warm, welcoming place for novices.
Before she crossed into startup investing, Beller was the animating spirit behind Facebook’s push into cryptocurrency. She got hired after pitching a company executive her idea to integrate blockchain technology into the social network. At 26 years old, she was leading strategy for Facebook’s own digital currency, called Libra, and a virtual wallet for storing it.
“Part of what got me out of bed every morning was lowering the barrier to entry for novices,” Beller told Insider.
While she quit the project after a series of setbacks, Beller didn’t venture far from crypto in her next gig. In 2020, she became a general partner at NFX, a seed-stage firm known for its savvy bets on Lyft, DoorDash, and Trulia. Now, the 29-year-old investor ranks among crypto’s rising-star dealmakers, with investments in Ramp, Radicle, and Celestia.
In an interview with Insider, Beller shared five companies that are helping people dip their toes into crypto investing.
Rocket Dollar is a fintech that allows anyone to invest their retirement savings into alternative assets like crypto and real estate. After they set up and accrue money in a self-directed retirement account or 401(k) account, users can diversify their portfolios with investments in digital currencies, digital asset funds, and even blockchain startups. The company charges a $360 signup fee and a monthly fee of $15 to maintain the account’s tax-compliant status.
The startup, Beller said, “solves a huge need for people to save cryptos in tax-preferred retirement accounts.”
Total venture funding: $13.5 million
It’s no secret that crypto investing can be complicated. But ZenLedger helps people quickly prep their tax filings by analyzing thousands of transcations across different digital wallets, exchanges, and digital-asset marketplaces. It’s “basically TurboTax for DeFi,” Beller said. The firm even contracts with the Civil and Criminal Investigation Units of the IRS, making it the agency’s “preferred provider” of forensic accounting and taxation software for cryptocurrency.
ZenLedger is an essential service, Beller said, “since crypto is still on the outskirts of the financial system.”
Total venture funding: $27.3 million
Gelt wants to make savings accounts on the blockchain easy to use for people who don’t know DeFi from WiFi. The startup offers savings accounts that convert people’s cash into USD Coin, a popular stablecoin, which is a type of digital money whose value is tied to a reserve asset like a fiat currency or gold. (In May, thousands of consumers saw their investments in stablecoins like Terra and Luna evaporate after losing their peg to the US dollar.) But Gelt says it insures deposits of up to $100,000 through a partnership with crypto insurance company Nexus Mutual.
Earlier this year, Beller led her firm’s investment in Gelt because she said it has potential to make decentralized finance accessible to the masses. People have different risk tolerances for engaging in the crypto market, with some people preferring “hard drugs” like making direct crypto investments, Beller said. Gelt gives them a “beer” option.
Total venture funding: $4.4 million
While Visa is known for its traditional credit cards, the payments company has planted a crypto stake in a big way. It offers multiple debit and credit cards, through partnerships with Coinbase and BlockFi, that let consumers use crypto to make everyday purchases from food to clothes to plane tickets, and earn rewards in crypto. For now, Visa relies on third-party providers like Coinbase to convert the crypto into local currencies for making transactions, but the firm has said it’s working toward a future where it handles the mechanics of crypto payments.
Beller described Visa as the “smartest big company I know on the crypto topic.”
Zerion makes a digital wallet with a social angle. The app lets people monitor their investments across multiple blockchains and exchanges and even execute trades without leaving the app. But what sets Zerion apart from other digital wallets, Beller said, is the ability to share a wallet address with friends and follow people to see what they’re investing in. It’s also useful for “whale watching,” the practice of tracking how deep-pocketed crypto traders invest.
Total venture funding: $10.2 million
This article is intended to provide generalized information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always consult with your own financial, legal, tax, investment, or other professional for advice on matters that affect you and/or your business.
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