Why wait for one of your investments to release a new feature when you can just build it yourself?
Delphi Digital’s newly-announced expansion aims to do just that. The cryptocurrency investment, media, and research company is now adding a Labs department which will be focused on contributing to Venture portfolio company development.
0/ We’re happy to announce the next stage in @Delphi_Digital’s evolution: Delphi Labs
Our goal with Delphi Labs is simple: to become the leading contributor helping to build out the decentralized futurehttps://t.co/DEmgfPORmQ
— Delphi Digital (@Delphi_Digital) February 26, 2021
The move will help expand Delphi’s current developmental wing, which presently houses 9 employees, according to Delphi Digital analyst José Macedo. Before they branched off from Research, the Labs team assisted with tokeneconomic design for multiple projects, and is currently spearheading an overhaul of Aave’s $1.4 billion Safety Module.
According to Macedo, the impetus for the new company wing is a lack of developmental and smart contract engineering resources endemic to the space.
“I think what led to this model was working with top projects and witnessing first hand how much work needs to be done and how there just isn’t the talent to do it. We realised the IP we’ve gained compounds and can be leveraged across the entire space.”
While Labs’ current focus will continue to be on tokeneconomics and governance proposals, as it expands it will eventually help to incubate younger projects, as well as potentially launch entirely new protocols under the Delphi brand, per a two-year timeline in the announcement.
Big money governance
Delphi isn’t alone in taking a more active role in the protocols they invest in. How venture capital funds interact with DAOs has been a hotly debated topic as of late, with some crypto community members arguing against preferential treatment (and/or governance token investment terms) for deep-pocketed investors, while others saying that fund are welcome like any other participant to become a part of public good governance.
So far protocol founders remain resolutely in favor of VC involvement, particularly when the VCs make material contributions. Uniswap founder Hayden Adams argued as much in a long Twitter thread two weeks ago:
I think it’s worth briefly explaining the positive and mutually beneficial experience I’ve had working with @paradigm @a16z @usv and other investors.
I’ve seen a lot of negativity and propaganda so I think it’s worth sharing my personal experience.
— Hayden Adams (@haydenzadams) February 12, 2021
Likewise, earlier in the month Synthetix announced a $12 million dollar raise from three venture capital funds, noting that the institutions would help with protocol development and participate in governance where able.
It’s a model Macedo says makes sense: projects can leverage Delphi’s research and developmental heft, and Delphi will in turn see their investments flourish:
“We only want to work with projects whose tokens we intend to hold for several years and our goal is to be long-term participants with aligned incentives.”