WSJ: What lives 29-year-old head of the Fund Polychain Capital in tough market times
In just a year, 29— year-old Olaf Carlson— Wee turned $14 502 $150 million investing in a cryptocurrency your Foundation just before everyone started to talk about bitcoin. In the past year, the Fund Polychain Capital attracted tens of millions from investors after reported 2303% profit is a much better indicator even in comparison with John Paulson and George Soros on wall street.
Now Carlson— Wee has to prove that it is not a miracle that happens only once.
Polychain lost about 40% of the $800 million, which earned for its clients last year because of investment losses and withdrawals several early investors. Carlson— VI criticized the fact that he stubbornly refuses to change the tactics of the Fund in spite of the long fall of the stock market. The famous venture capital company Union Square Ventures, an early investor in the Fund, withdraw some of their funds, while others have continued to lose money. One investor filed a lawsuit, claiming that he was underpaid when he decided to withdraw their investments. Lawyers Polychain and Carlson— Wee deny the charges.
After gaining the attention of the investment world in 2017 bitcoin gradually sank by 55%. One of those who was at the center of this vortex, became Carlson— Wee, star of Silicon valley. He wears vintage jackets, five earrings and for dinner eating only beans, garlic and cheese. It is called the Oracle in the “cryptocurrency Mogul”. In interviews, he compares the current investment opportunity on the stock market from the first days of the Internet. He manages the world’s largest cryptocurrency Fund Polychain worth $650 million, sitting at a Mac book among the old boom box in a secret office somewhere in San Francisco.
Carlson— Wee was raised in a Lutheran pastor. He said that he had few friends; his classmates voted him both “most special”. At Vassar College, he studied at the faculty of sociology and, against the advice of his professors, wrote a thesis on the then virtually unknown digital currency bitcoin.
After graduating College in 2012, Carlson— VI became the first employee of the company Coinbase. In the interview he came to their the only jeans that were smeared with the resin (before that, he tried his hand as a lumberjack). Instead of a belt — cord. Starting salary ($50,000 a year) paid in bitcoins.
In July 2016, Carlson— VI retired to run one of the world’s first CryptoRandom in the apartment, which he shared with seven roommates. With his mullet hairstyle and a collection of jackets from the 90s Carlson— Wee has become quite a prominent figure for investors San Francisco.
The Fund earned in December 2016, Union Square Ventures has agreed to invest in newly created company, evaluating it at $5 million — a very high price, given that the value of all assets under its control was about the same.
Venture capitalist Ramtin Naimi bought a share in a Polychain, and then he invited Carlson— Wee at lunch. For toast with avocado, he asked about growth prospects for the Polychain. Carlson— Wee said that $50 million is an excellent goal. A few months later Naimi asked him the same question. Then Olaf said that $400 million is the correct figure.
Polychain grew rapidly along with the growing popularity of cryptocurrency. Having hundreds (if not thousands) of blockchain— related startups. The creators of a new cryptocurrency gave them in Polychain, Carlson— Wee and other people hoping to get their approval. Later Polychain sell part of the profit received during cryptorama.
Sam Carlson— VI daily spent hours at his computer, occasionally asked strangers on Reddit and recommending to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Big investors in Silicon valley have also started to invest in the Fund, including Sequoia Capital, Bain Capital Ventures and the Founders Fund Peter Thiel.
In the summer of 2017, the Fund has raised the threshold of entry. It has affected and friends of the Carlson— Wee, who invested in the Fund, one of the first. Those who did not have hundreds of thousands of dollars just eliminated from the Fund. Carlson— Wee says it was a necessary step because Polychain made changes to the placement of funds of large investors, and adds that it affected only a few customers Polychain.
From Olaf’s complicated relationship with its competitors. He is not particularly welcomed the support of the Fund at the start of CryptoRandom Pantera Capital, who has long had access to trading information Polychain. Carlson— Wee has blocked access to this information and threatened, forcing Pantera and other early investors to sell their shares. Pantera denies misuse of any confidential information Polychain.
In early November, Carlson— VI paid a dozen of its employees a trip to the resort on the ocean in Cancun. According to them, the stock market fell, but all were relaxed; they remember how to check iPhone for water resistance, throwing it to each other across the pool. After a few minutes the phone fell into the water and then have not worked. According to Carlson— Wee, over the phone not keep his friend Richard Crab. Crab was one of the early investors of the Fund. He created his own cryptocurrency called Numeraire, which brought him a large profit (on paper), but soon Polychain sold falling asset. Crab bought your investment in the Fund, since the sale, he said, had no reason.
Union Square Ventures, an early investor Polychain also analyzed their investments. Polychain earned him millions of dollars, but these figures were very conventional because of the volatility of the stock market. Co-founder of Union Square’s Fred Wilson says that the company decided to withdraw part of the money from Polychain at the end of last year to “remove the investment risk.” However, he notes that the Carlson— Wee “clever guy”, which has its own view of what is happening.
Olaf not worried about the current loss of bitcoin. Recently he forgot the mobile in his Cadillac Escalade, driving the hour and a half in exideuil on the site of an ancient volcanic crater in the vicinity of Auckland. Anyway, the trader, he does not consider himself:
There is one thing I want to stress that the trader, when something doubles, sell half or something like that. In Polychain we do not sell. We are moving to positions.
Carlson— VI describes his approach as “long-term investment, based on the theses”. This position is shared by investors with the “blue chips” such as Andreessen Horowitz, is that cryptocurrency is just one of the trends in technology that could revolutionize the digital world. Most of the existing online organizations, starting with applications for Dating and to enterprise cloud services, will be replaced by less costly decentralized infrastructure of the blockchain. The question is which of the hundreds of competing platforms will be the most popular. Last year Carlson— Wee has made a bet that wins the Ethereum; according to recent data, more than one-quarter of the underlying Fund was invested Polychain in the air. This year’s broadcast fell by 74%, and the portfolio Polychain decreased by 31% (end of July). In General, the company has suffered smaller losses compared with the cryptocurrency market as a whole.
With the beginning of the year Polychain blocked the withdrawal, investing in so-called “side pocket”, which is now more than half of the Fund’s assets. This means that investors will not be able to withdraw their money, even if you want. Carlson— Wee says:
If crypto currencies are going to zero, we go to zero. I don’t think anyone else has the illusion that it is not.
In any case, the zeros in the accounts of Carlson— Wee is not threatened. Unlike many companies that own illiquid assets, Polychain annually take a Commission for fixed income. Last year Carlson— VI started with only $14 502 in the Fund that turned into $150 million of income from commissions. He cashed in $60 million, which raised concerns among investors regarding his faith in the future of their Foundation. He said he allocated money for the family and invested more funds in the funds of the company.
In March, Carlson— Wee and Polychain appeared before the court on the suit early investor and professional poker player Harry Greenhouse. In its lawsuit, greenhouse contends that he asked the Fund to give the money back at the end of last year. Polychain did not describe in detail how I evaluated these investments, but the greenhouse suspects that he was underpaid. The case is in arbitration.
Olaf Carlson— Wee, meanwhile, changed her hair and moved to a new office in a converted warehouse. Public address Polychain in San Francisco fake because the Fund does not want to disclose your location to potential criminals. Olaf himself is optimistic enough. Smiling, he says:
In any case, in this epic adventure. Well, if everything collapsed, that would be just crazy, you know?
According to the materials of The Wall Street Journal