Billionaire co-founder of crypto venture capital firm a16z Marc Andreessen may be leaving the board of directors of Meta due to his firm’s investments in the Web3 space.
Business Insider reported on Friday that a close source said, “it would not surprise me even remotely” if Andreessen exited the board in the next few months. Andreessen could leave as soon as May when the board has its next re-election.
Andreessen has not made a public statement regarding his future with the Meta board.
Meta has begun to build or acquire several Web3 projects related to the Metaverse, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), social networking, finance and entertainment, meaning that a16z’s crypto empire could create a conflict of interests. On March 18, Meta applied to patent user identification software most commonly used in hardware and e-wallets similar to MetaMask or Ledger.
A16z, meanwhile, is the leading VC firm in the cryptocurrency space. It helped lead the recent investment round in Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) creator Yuga Labs and launched a $30 million fund on March 11 to support NFT art projects. The $450 million investment round in Yuga Labs marks one of the largest NFT project seed rounds ever.
A16z’s other previous or active investments in the crypto space include decentralized exchange Uniswap, centralized exchange Coinbase, NFT marketplace OpenSea, decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol MakerDAO and decentralized lending platform Compound.
A16z raised $2.2 billion for its third crypto fund in the middle of last year and intends to raise $4.5 billion for its next fund in the coming months, making it the largest venture to date.
A spokesperson for a16z denied the rumors, telling Business Insider:
“If he were to step down, he doesn’t know about it. So no, it’s not happening. At least not now.”
Andreessen has been on the former Facebook board since 2008, longer than any other current non-Meta team member. Early Facebook investor Peter Thiel will step down in May for a number of reasons including his crypto investments in Block.one, the blockchain solutions firm behind EOS blockchain and crypto trading platform BitPanda.