Crypto VC Exits Plunge to 3-Year Low Despite Investment Surge: What’s Next for Startups?

Crypto VC Exits Plunge to 3-Year Low Despite Investment Surge: What's Next for Startups?
Table of Contents


  • VC exits in the crypto sector dropped to a 3-year low despite a slight increase in deal value in Q4 2023, indicating a scarcity of liquidity events for startups.
  • Startups choose to stay private longer and face reduced activity in mergers, acquisitions, and IPOs, resulting in a subdued market atmosphere.
  • Investors remain optimistic and focus on early-stage investments, especially in infrastructure firms that can address regulatory, security, and economic challenges.

Crypto VC (Venture capital)  exits in the cryptocurrency sector have hit a three-year low in 2023 despite a slight uptick in investments. This trend has raised questions about the future of startups in the crypto space. Even though spot markets for digital assets are witnessing a revival, the wider startup ecosystem is grappling with a scarcity of exits.

The number of exits, which refer to liquidity events that allow venture firms to realize returns, was just 12 during Q4 2023, the lowest since Q4 2020. This is in stark contrast to the deal value, which increased to $1.9 billion across 326 deals in the same quarter.

The cryptocurrency venture capital sector has been experiencing a period of stagnation, with its performance not reaching the peaks of billions of dollars per month as seen in 2021 and 2022. 

This trend has resulted in startups choosing to remain private for extended periods. Furthermore, the reduced activity in mergers, acquisitions, and Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) has contributed to a subdued market atmosphere and a decrease in ‘exits’.

The Silver Lining: Positive Outlook Among Crypto VC Investors

Crypto VC Exits Plunge to 3-Year Low Despite Investment Surge: What's Next for Startups?

Nevertheless, the situation is not entirely bleak. Several investors in the cryptocurrency venture capital space maintain a positive outlook. They are intensifying their focus on early-stage investments, adopting a long-term perspective toward the companies in their portfolio.

“Smart VCs did their buying in 2022 and 2023, and now the more competent class of investors are waiting for new all-time highs before even thinking about exit opportunities,” says Vance Spencer, co-founder of Framework Ventures.

Looking ahead, the future of crypto startups seems to be focused on infrastructure firms with respective focuses on regulatory compliance, security, and the optimization of economic models. These firms are expected to guide the industry through increased regulatory scrutiny and challenging economic conditions to build more sustainable growth.

In conclusion, while the current state of VC exits in the crypto sector may seem concerning, it’s important to remember that the crypto market is still in its early stages. With the right strategies and a focus on long-term growth, startups in this space can navigate these challenges and continue to innovate. As the saying goes, “Amid the chaos, there is also opportunity.”


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