DCAP Interview Series – Ivan Ripamonti, Lead Investment Strategy DCAP Ltd. talks about the opportunities in Web3 for this year
February 2, 2023
For our February interview, we had an insightful chat with Ivan Ripamonti, the lead of the Investment Strategy at DCAP Ltd. His responsibilities include product structuring, deal flow generation and execution and portfolio management. Previously, he worked for Deutsche Digital Assets (formerly Iconic Funds) and Maitri Capital as an Investment Manager, as well as for Kintaro Capital as COO and Head of Research. Ivan holds a Master of Science in Management with a qualitative business specialisation in Finance.
Ivan, how did you end up working in the blockchain/Web3 sector?
I moved to Berlin to study at ESMT, one of the leading German business schools. I ended up in one of the fastest-growing startup and tech ecosystems, which was one of the top global hubs for blockchain research and development. In 2017, most core Ethereum developers lived in Berlin or frequently visited the city. The concentration of talent, events, and the boom in crypto asset prices fostered the creation of more than 100 startups developing products using distributed ledger technologies (DLTs). Many new chains, Ethereum contenders, or Ethereum scalability solutions were built in these months, and corporates, regulators, and many talented people recognised the potential of DLT to disrupt the financial industry and other sectors (e.g., logistics, consumer discretionary, etc.).
As soon as I realized that a new web (Web 3.0) was getting built on the backbone of DLT technology, I abandoned my corporate career plans and decided to join the blockchain startup ecosystem. I started from tech research and advisory to corporates such as Novartis and Bayer, to later move back to my passion for finance and focus on creating regulated financial products for institutional and professional investors. The goal was to offer them different and diversified products which could give exposure to the development of a new iteration of the World Wide Web (Web3), which incorporates concepts such as decentralisation, blockchain technologies, and token-based economics.
It is not by chance that the term Web3 was coined by Gavin Wood, Ethereum co-founder and the founder of Polkadot (a chain built to enable blockchain interoperability) while living in Berlin and thinking about a multi-chain world that could democratise asset ownership.
What brought you from Berlin to Zurich?
In the last years, regulators have started to govern the space and companies that are building in Web3; for instance, the EU has recently approved the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) Regulation, a new regime tailored to digital assets, enabling traditional investors such as banks, wealth managers and pension funds to get more involved in the space. As I wanted to build financial products that could bridge the traditional and new financial worlds, I realised I had to live in one of the leading financial hubs. For this reason, I moved first to Frankfurt, where I worked on issuing some of the first crypto ETPs listed on Deutsche Boerse - Xetra and venture capital funds in Europe, and then to Zurich, spousing the vision and ambitions of DCAP.
What motivated you to remain in the sector through the Ups and Downs of the digital asset world? And how to best profit from Web3 developments?
Volatility and fluctuations are part of any disruptive innovation; the web and tech sector did not grow linearly but went through boom and bust cycles that culminated with the Dot.com bubble. You can profit from disruptive innovations either by taking advantage of this volatility or by taking long-term fundamental bets, remaining invested and long-term committed despite the volatility.
At DCAP, we are tackling precisely this: our team is conscious that we are still in the early stage of Web3 developments and that building a new web requires long-term commitment and continuous iterations. For now, it is hard to predict in detail how the Web3 will look like and what companies, ventures and projects will profit the most from it. Still, many technological breakthroughs converge simultaneously (DLT, AI, Zero Knowledge Proof, …), disrupting industries and creating a unique opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs.
Whoever now understands the opportunity and can take a broad and diversified exposure to the Web3 space is best positioned to profit from Web3 developments.
How do you see things developing this year? What are the main trends of 2023?
2023 will be a year for rebuilding/restructuring, but also an excellent opportunity to start new businesses (more resilient and sustainable) that will replace the ones that went insolvent last year.
I expect three trends, in particular, to be dominant in 2023:
From an infrastructure standpoint, the main focus will be on scalability: building infrastructure and products that can scale or help the most adopted blockchains to scale. While the space for layer one chains (L1s) is getting crowded, a few L1s focused primarily on scalability will emerge and attract users from those chains that could not keep the 2021 momentum and that are losing users and attracting fewer developers.However, most capital will flow into scaling the largest ecosystems: Ethereum, Bitcoin, Cosmos, …
More capital will flow into DeFi. Decentralised lending, liquid staking solutions, and decentralised exchanges will grow exponentially filling the gaps created by the failures of their CeFi competitors.
The Web3 gaming hype will cool down, and less VC capital will flow into the development of Web3games. However, Web3 games will start getting real adoption towards the end of the year, even if not yet mass adoption. In 2023, the newly released Web3 games will start matching the quality and get ready to compete with web2 games, and more major gaming studios will invest in the development of Web3 AAA games.
The recent release of Yuga Labs Dookey Dash Game – a skill-based NFT game – has attracted many professional gamers, something we haven’t seen in the Web3 gaming space so far, underscoring the trend.
And last but not least important, what do you do outside of the Web3 space?
The digital assets market is a 24/7 and hectic market; therefore, to stay committed to it long-term, it is fundamental to disconnect from the space from time to time. In my free time, I try to rest, watch Netflix and relax first and foremost, but I also spend time with my friends and family. As a passionate football enthusiast, I am never one to miss a match featuring Juventus, despite taking a temporary hiatus from the sport in 2022. This break allowed me to recharge as I look forward to an intense but thrilling 2023 season.