Joining Variant: Mason Nystrom

Why I'm going all in on the Ownership Economy

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m joining Variant as an Investment Partner. I’m excited about the opportunity to work alongside Li JinJesse WaldenSpencer Noon, and the rest of the team to build a world-class web3 venture firm focused on early stage investing.

I wanted to take a few moments to share my crypto journey, why I wanted to join Variant, and where I’ll be dedicating my time on the investment team.


GM World

This role is the culmination of a journey into crypto that began back in 2017. I initially entered the crypto space during the initial ICO boom, excited about the potential of a world built on permissionless blockchain networks. While working at ConsenSys, I witnessed the maturation of the Ethereum ecosystem and the emergence of the foundational DeFi protocols which sparked my curiosity to research other cryptonetworks and protocols. I’ve spent the last several years at Messari as a Sr. Research Analyst where I’ve researched and written about new types of infrastructure and applications powered by cryptonetworks.

Some of the topics and categories I’ve researched at Messari include:

I’m excited to continue writing about what’s at the bleeding edge of web3. If you’d like to receive all my writing, musings, and half-baked ideas, please subscribe to my newsletter.

Why Variant 

As a researcher, I was initially drawn to the Variant team by how effortlessly they communicate the mission of web3 – to create a more equitable internet through the broader distribution of ownership – and the stories of their portfolio companies to the world. So often in life, it’s not necessarily the best technology or the best ideas that win, but the best stories. The Variant team has been instrumental in writing some of the canonical pieces for this industry that pull forward the future. I’m excited to do my part in helping Variant shape the story of this ecosystem.

I was also drawn to Variant’s early-stage focus – the firm’s mission to back and support authentic founders starting from day 0 across the entire web3 stack, from Layer-1 infrastructure to consumer applications.

And perhaps most importantly, Jesse, Li, and Spencer have assembled a world-class team that I’m excited to work with and learn from as we endeavor to support the entrepreneurs building the future of web3.

In short, Variant is focused on backing founders from the jump who are creating new markets and exploring ownership as a design space, and helping them communicate their products and visions to the world. And that’s a “why” worth getting excited about and contributing towards!

Investing in Web3 Consumer

At Variant, I’ll be investing in early stage crypto protocols and companies with a focus on consumer.

Some categories I’m excited about:

  • NFT financialization: new forms of NFT monetization, derivatives, IP royalties, price discovery and liquidity protocols
  • Web3 marketplaces leverage unique crypto-economic mechanisms and incentives
  • Unique NFT applications, marketplaces, and platforms
  • Scalable DAO infrastructure and tooling
  • Web3 social networks that blend social & economic elements
  • Next-gen consumer-infra that facilitates new user behavior or consumption
  • Web3 user tooling and creator monetization
  • And other emergent consumer platforms

If you’re working on something that sounds like a fit, my DM’s are open or please reach out at [email protected].


Nobody summits a mountain alone. And similarly, I wouldn’t be here without the unwavering support of my wife Hayley, as well as the support of my brother Gunnar and parents (Kix and Lisa).