An Intro to Crypto: Building Blocks

Linda Xie

watch time: 21 minutes

From the quest for digital money and history of bitcoin, to the emergence of ethereum and smart contracts, this presentation/video provides an introduction to crypto(currencies, tokens, and networks). The talk was originally delivered as part of an “Intro to Cryptoevent that Andreessen Horowitz and #Angels put on in April 2018.

But beyond solving existing problems and use cases, what are the completely new applications that crypto tokens and networks enable? Where does open source, and particularly “forking”, come in? And finally, what is (and isn’t) pseudonymous vs. anonymous, public vs. private, and so on? One thing is for sure — this is about so much more than money, argues Linda Xie (co-founder and managing director of Scalar Capital, previously product manager at Coinbase, and author of a popular series of beginner’s guides on cryptoassets) — and that’s where she begins and ends this journey through, and overview of, the space…

The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments and certain publicly traded cryptocurrencies/ digital assets for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly) is available at

Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see for additional important information.