Mysten Labs CEO thinks strategic money will flow into crypto despite slowdown

Quick Take

  • Traditional financial institutions like BlackRock and investors from the Gulf region including UAE and Qatar are interested in investing in blockchain, said Cheng.
  • In August, investment into crypto startups sunk to its lowest level in more than two years.

Money has been tight since the hype-driven crypto bull run subsided months ago, but investment capital will once again begin to flow, deployed more strategically and with added caution, Mysten Labs CEO Evan Cheng told The Block in an interview.

"Investors are looking. The BlackRocks of the world are obviously not dummies. They do recognize there is opportunity here," said Cheng. "I’ve been talking to people in the Gulf region, UAE, Qatar … there’s a ton of interest. They very much want to get ahead of that. Same thing in Asia, in the APAC region. So money will come in, but they will be much, much more strategic about it."

Cheng has plenty of experience interacting with investors interested in web3. Besides closing a $300 million round in 2022 that included the participation of Andreessen Horowitz's a16z crypto unit, the executive was also said to be pitching, earlier this year, a web3 fund valued at more than $100 million.

Mysten, co-founded by Cheng, is the creator of the buzzy Layer 1 blockchain Sui that leverages the Move programming language, first developed at Meta where Cheng previously worked. Before that he spent more than a decade at Apple.

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Cheng is encouraged by traditional finance's growing interest in crypto and blockchain, and envisions a more mature and merit-based landscape will taking root.

Traditional financial institutions "understand what the consumer wants, how to use this technology better," he said. "What we anticipate is once we get passed this hyper bearish, uncertain market, there will be emerging winners, they will be the ones rewarded on merit. I'm not saying there won't be speculative activities, but it will be somewhat merit based."

Venture investment in crypto startups dropped considerably in the past year, with less than $500 million invested in August. That was the lowest level recorded in more than two years.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

RT Watson is a senior reporter at The Block who covers a wide array of topics including U.S.-based companies, blockchain gaming and NFTs. Formerly covered entertainment at The Wall Street Journal, where he wrote about Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. and the creator economy while focusing primarily on technological disruption across media. Previous to that he covered corporate, economic and political news in Brazil while at Bloomberg. RT has interviewed a diverse cast of characters including CEOs, media moguls, top influencers, politicians, blue-collar workers, drug traffickers and convicted criminals. Holds a master's degree in Digital Sociology.


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