Let's get digi-physical: From 'tap' chips to Taylor Swift

Robert HackettChristopher LeeMichael Blau

Chris Lee is cofounder of IYK, a startup that makes digital experiences tangible through NFC chips. Michael Blau is a deal partner at a16z crypto and part-time generative artist. And Robert Hackett is an editor at a16z crypto. They discuss the merging of the digital and physical, new consumer experiences enabled by chipped goods, the challenge of counterfeits and bots, and more.

Welcome to web3 with a16z, a show about building the next generation of the internet from the team at a16z crypto — that includes me, Robert Hackett, your cohost and an editor here. Today’s episode explores the merging of the physical and digital worlds, as well as what that means for the future of our interactions and identities.

Our guests today are Chris Lee, cofounder of IYK, a startup that’s bringing the physical closer together to the digital through NFC chips, and joining us is Michael Blau, a deal partner at a16z crypto who creates generative art in his spare time.

In the conversation ahead, we cover new consumer experiences in everything from concert-going to commerce, the intersection of high tech and high fashion, and differences between building in web2 versus web3. We also dig into the power of open standards, the challenges posed by bots and counterfeiting, and debates over terminology, including whether ‘phygital’ should be a thing.


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 current or enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.

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 for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investment-list/.

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 https://a16z.com/disclosures/ for additional important information.