According to legendary investor Ron Conway, known as the "Godfather of Silicon Valley," crypto startups are on the cusp of a breakthrough that will be just as transformative as the dot-com boom of the late '90s.
In his view, that's largely thanks to Coinbase, which went public on Wednesday and ended its debut market session valued at $86 billion.
Conway, who was an early investor in Coinbase, called the cryptocurrency exchange the "Google for the crypto economy" in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday. Elaborating further, he told Insider that just as Google opened the web, Coinbase is making crypto accessible to consumers all over the world.
But the cryptocurrency exchange has similarities with another pioneering tech company as well, he added.
"Netscape marked the beginning of the .com boom," he wrote in an email to Insider. "Coinbase is marking the beginning of the crypto economy boom."
Netscape was the company that pioneered the Web browser and made the internet accessible to anyone. It also sent its founder, Marc Andreessen, onto the path of Silicon Valley fame and fortune.
The next step in taking crypto mainstream, Conway said, is decentralized finance, or DeFi, services. DeFi services aim to enable people to carry out financial tasks without having to go through traditional institutions such as banks. Bank of America has even floated the idea that DeFi could be more disruptive than Bitcoin.
In Conway's view, that would be especially beneficial to those without banking accounts — estimated at some 1.7 billion adults worldwide, according to the World Bank.
Conway named some other startups, several of which SV Angel has invested in, that he said he also considers to be the new utilities of the crypto economy:
* Anchorage, a crypto platform for financial institutions
* Dapper Labs, a blockchain gaming platform best known for NBA Top Shot
* Celo, a crypto-based payments platform
* OpenSea, a marketplace for non-fungible tokens and crypto collectibles
* Goldfinch, a crypto lending service
Recently, crypto startups that branch out beyond fintech have been grabbing investors' attention.
In March, Dapper Labs, the maker of trading-card platform NBA Top Shot, announced it had raised $305 million in a star-studded round including celebrities such as Michael Jordan and Will Smith. Also that month, OpenSea announced it had raised a $23 million Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz, in which Conway also participated.