Interested in building a crypto project? Join our seven-week, part-time course.

February 21–April 3, 2020

During the course of the program, you will learn about the fundamentals of blockchain technology and why it matters, applications and ideas for the future, as well as best practices for building a startup in the crypto space.

Applications are now closed.

Course instructors just announced! Read More »

Most Asked Questions

Can I keep my job while going through this program?
Yes! Crypto Startup School runs from 4-8 pm on Fridays. Make it your nights-and-weekends project.

Do I need to have fully baked ideas to apply?
No. We will be happy to share ideas and help you sharpen early concepts through workshops and mentorship.

Who is eligible for the program?
Technologists with experience building software products. You do not need to be technical and prior crypto experience is not necessary, but applicants should be comfortable learning some Solidity, Ethereum’s Javascript-like programming language, or else apply with a technical teammate.

When will we be notified about admissions?
Applicants will be notified by e-mail no later than January 24, 2020.

For more information, see our FAQs.

Introducing a16z Crypto Startup School

By Chris Dixon


Historically, new models of computing have tended to emerge every 10–15 years: mainframes in the 60s, PCs in the late 70s, the internet in the early 90s, and smartphones in the 2000s. Today, a number of exciting new computing paradigms are on the cusp of going mainstream. We are particularly excited about the promise of blockchain computers such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many more recent projects they’ve inspired.

Blockchains are new types of computers where the unique capability is trust between users, developers, and the platform itself. This trust emerges from the mathematical and game-theoretic properties of the system, without depending on the trustworthiness of individual network participants. This in turn enables the credible creation of powerful new computing primitives, such as digital money, smart contracts, and decentralized organizations. 

As with any new computing movement, blockchains have endured a variety of challenges, false starts, and misconceptions. Some of the challenges are technical (e.g., scalability), some are product related (e.g., user experience), but many are due to the lack of widespread understanding of the technology’s capabilities, and the best practices required to take it mainstream.

We’ve been involved in crypto/blockchains for almost seven years now, and as a team, have had the opportunity to learn from world-class entrepreneurs and technologists on topics like product and technology design, organization development, go-to-market strategy, and legal/regulatory best practices. We think that sharing the most important lessons we’ve learned could accelerate the development of existing projects, and inspire more talented people to join the space.

This is why we are excited to announce a16z Crypto Startup School, a seven-week program that will kick off in late February 2020. The lectures will be in person in Menlo Park, Cali., and afterwards we’ll be putting videos of the event along with curriculum materials online. The program is completely free. There is no charge and we don’t take equity. The curriculum is meant to supplement—not replace—the many other excellent programs and resources that help founders learn about building tech startups. 

If you are as excited about crypto as we are, and have experience building software products, we invite you to apply. You will hear from leading technologists and investors in the field, and learn the fundamentals of building a crypto startup.

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Course Outline

We plan to cover the following topics through lectures and workshops, mentor office hours, and networking:

  • What are Crypto Networks, and Why Do They Matter?
  • Blockchain Computing Primitives: Cryptography and Consensus
  • Applications: Today and 2025
  • Crypto and Gaming
  • Building a Protocol vs. Building a Product
  • “Layer 1” Infrastructure and Developer Tools 
  • Business Models and Value Capture 
  • Cryptoeconomics 
  • Lessons Learned: Hiring, UX, Product Development, Security
  • Go-to-Market Strategy and Developer Relations
  • Regulatory Landscape and Considerations
  • Guide to Fundraising
  • Progressive Decentralization
  • Best Practices for Managing a Distributed Workforce

Instructors & Mentors

Top entrepreneurs, builders, investors, and experts from the crypto community will teach on a range of topics and guide participants through the process of developing a new crypto project.