Episode 6: Around the Block with Max Shapiro. Proving their worth and securing funding for DeFi projects, a Managing Partner’s Perspective


Welcome to the recap of episode 6 of Around the Block. Host Dave Uhryniak, Director of Blockchain Strategy at TRON DAO, talks with Max Shapiro, the Managing Partner of Cadenza Ventures, about what DeFi projects are doing to prove their worth and secure funding. 

Max is also the Co-founder of Cadenza Ventures. Since 2018, the Cadenza team has managed investment vehicles focusing on digital finance and blockchain technologies.

Around the Block brings experts together in the blockchain domain live on dLive protocol, one of the leading decentralized streaming platforms in the world. 

In the episode streamed on March 25, 2022, some of Max’s favorite points were emerging market exchange venues and everyday use cases of crypto and DeFi, decentralized finance innovation, the difficulties with decentralizing corporate governance, and the convergence of gaming and finance amongst retail investors globally. 

Many significant matters were brought up by the two. Some of those were exchanges like lemon cash in Argentina, which is expanding rapidly. They also touched on normalizing crypto transactions and how they could work at scale using crypto and day-to-day transactions. 

Lemon cash is just one of the exciting examples helping to enable and normalize the use of crypto in Argentina and soon expand into Brazil. Kadenze is geographically diverse, and they focus on user experience as a differentiator, as well as things like efficiency. You may wonder what makes a DeFi project prove its worth or worth investment. 

According to Max, it’s difficult, and it takes some intuition and research. There might be a project that checks all the boxes and doesn’t turn out to be the best, and others that seem to check no boxes at face value and end up performing incredibly well down the road. This takes skill, time, patience, a good team, and a number of X factors. 

Another fascinating topic that was brought up is the potential for these fees to operate as DAOs themselves. It was discussed that there would be a lot of hurdles to get over for that to happen in terms of regulation, what goes into setting up a fund and raising money, and defining accredited investors. For all the intermediaries involved in those types of processes, this might be a five to 10-plus-year horizon before we see this as commonplace. But if it did happen, it’s a very interesting thing to think about. 

Finally, it was also discussed that big exchanges compete with localized startups. 

Thank you for reading this short recap of another great episode of Around the Block. We look forward to bringing you another episode soon with our team, engaging experts, and conversations.