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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

33 mins ago - World

U.K. prosecutors charge third person in poisoning of former Russian spy

Emergency services members in biohazard encapsulated suits encasing the poisoning scene in a tent in Salisbury, England, in March 2018. Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

U.K. prosecutors said they had enough evidence to charge Denis Sergeev, a member of the Russian military intelligence service, in the 2018 Salisbury nerve agent attack against a former Russian spy, according to AP.

Why it matters: Sergeev is the third person to face charges for the nerve agent attack against Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, both of whom survived.

1 hour ago - Technology

Scoop: More boycotts coming for Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Leaders of the Stop Hate For Profit social media boycott group are discussing whether to organize another campaign against Facebook in light of an explosive investigative series from the Wall Street Journal, Common Sense CEO Jim Steyer tells Axios.

The intrigue: Sources tell Axios that another group, separate from the Stop Hate For Profit organization, is expected to launch its own ad boycott campaign this week.

Democrats' dwindling 2022 map

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats are trying to unseat only about half as many Republican House members next year as they did in 2020, trimming their target list from 39 to 21.

Why it matters: The narrowing map — which reflects where Democrats see their best chance of flipping seats — is the latest datapoint showing the challenging political landscape the party faces in the crucial 2022 midterms.