Source: Giphy

The hottest deal in venture-land right now isn't a venture deal at all: It's the massive pre-ICO for encrypted messaging startup Telegram.

Details: Brand-name Silicon Valley firms like Benchmark already have (quietly) signed on to what reportedly could be a $500 million offering, after which Telegram would sell even more tokens to develop its own blockchain platform and native cryptocurrency.

That's the front-of-house business. In the back-of-house, venture firms are frantically reworking fund agreements to permit crypto investments.

  • A Silicon Valley fund formation lawyer tells me that around one-third of new VC fund documents include new language that explicitly permits the purchase of crypto assets, often with some sort of concentration limit.
  • The lawyer also says that he's now spending at least half his time fielding calls from clients asking crypto-related questions.
  • Existing funds often are going to LP advisory committees for permission to do such deals, particularly if they are purchasing actual tokens. Pre-sales are generally structured as simple agreements for future tokens (SAFTs), or contracts that legally double as securities.
  • One big complication is how to handle in-kind distributions. Most LPs don't yet know what to do with tokens, and it gets even more complicated for registered investment advisors (i.e., most funds-of-funds) who need to have their assets held by qualified custodians. In short, it's unclear if any custodians are actually qualified to hold tokens.

Go deeper

Trump's 2 chilling debate warnings

Photo: Morry Gash/Pool via Getty Images

One of the few groups in America with anything to celebrate after last night's loud, ugly, rowdy presidential "debate" was the violent, far-right Proud Boys, after President Trump pointedly refused to condemn white supremacist groups.

Why it matters: This was a for-the-history-books moment in a debate that was mostly headache-inducing noise. Trump failed to condemn racist groups after four months when millions marched for racial justice in the country's largest wave of activism in half a century.

Ina Fried, author of Login
47 mins ago - Technology

Candidates go online to cut through debate noise

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

While President Trump and Joe Biden fought to be heard in a rowdy debate Tuesday, both campaigns sought to draw digital battle lines and occupy online turf they could have all to themselves.

The big picture: Trump's impulsive Twitter style made a shambles of the debate format, but online the candidates were able to find niches where they couldn't be interrupted — and could motivate their supporters to donate, organize and turn out to vote.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Shell plans up to 9,000 job cuts by 2022

A Shell station in Brazil. Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Royal Dutch Shell will shed up to 9,000 jobs as it undergoes a long-term restructuring around climate-friendly energy sources and continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic that has battered the oil industry.

Why it matters: The cuts could amount to over 10% of the company's global workforce, which was 83,000 at the end of 2019.