The cost of living crisis has been tough for merchants, but other factors are affecting their ability to future-proof.
Luxury and fashion markets are structurally different from finance or commodity markets in that they seek to limit supply in order to generate value. This increases price and social status. We can analogize these brand dynamics to what is happening in NFT digital object markets and better understand their function as a result.
We’re not cool. That’s why we’re in finance.
But people want to be cool. As highly social and intelligent animals, we want and need to belong, differentiate against each other, and negotiate for status. We create signals and hierarchies to create pockets of relational capital, which we then cash in for real world benefits.
Such mammalian realities are contrary to the economic rendering of the homo economicus, the abstracted rational agent making choices in financial models. In 2021, our financial models are waking up and instantiating themselves, becoming Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), spun up by DeFi and NFT industry insiders, and implemented into commercial actions onchain.
Chinadigital lendingeCommerceMetaverse / xRneobanksmall businessSocial / Communitysuper appsupply chain / trade·
This week, we cover these ideas:
Klarna’s $640 million raise and its $45 billion valuation, and how its business model arbitrages the payments revenue pool to build a lending business
Pinduoduo’s growth path to a $150B marketcap, and the links between shopping, media, and financial mechanisms that help it compete with Alibaba
A comparison of approaches to growth and economics
Implications for crypto assets for capturing “the real economy”
Klarna is raising $640 million on a $45 billion private valuation, with over $1 billion in net operating income. The buy-now-pay-later company has over 90 million active customers and 250,000 merchants. It was founded in Sweden in 2005.
On the other side of the ocean, Chinese ecommerce company Pinduoduo is beating Alibaba with 820 million active buyers, generates over $3 billion in revenue per quarter, connects buyers to 12 million farmers, and has a market capitalization of $150 billion. It was founded in China in 2015.
In this conversation, we talk with Maximilian Rofagha, who serves as the CEO and Founder of Finimize, about how to do personal finance right and how to do it bottoms up for the world.
Additionally, we explore Max’s journey to becoming an entrepreneur, the nuances of the e-commerce business, the building of and drivers behind community and creating business activities around it, the influences of FinTok and crypto assets on financial community, and the drivers of value back into said communities fulfilling the feedback loop.
In this conversation, we talk with Marwan Forzley of Veem about how the rampant evolution of the mobile phone spurred his fascination to turn the phone into a business-to-business (B2B) payments network. Additionally, we explore how generations of companies have tried to use correspondent banking to solve for B2B cross border and failed, the intricacies of payment rails and the infrastructure to support them, the impact of COVID on global e-commerce, how the future will blend the distinctions between digital wallets, banking services, and crypto wallets.
In this conversation, we talk with Anil Aggarwal of Clarity Payment Solutions (acquired by TSYS) and TxVia (acquired by Google) about how he “stumbled” upon the payment space at the right time.
Anil is an absolute FinTech icon as the founder of renowned FinTech conferences – Money20/20 and FinTech Meetup. Additionally, we explore the various concepts of payment network utlity, the market timing large platform shifts, as well as, how social capital and community formation can serve as drivers towards the monetization of our attention even further.
Let’s do some math homework. It’s good for you:
The Federal Reserve money movement system broke for several hours. We look deeply into its volumes and transactions, and value it like a Fintech unicorn.
The Ethereum ecosystem is throwing around as much volume in settlement as the Fed check processing system. We explore scalability barriers and solutions.
Can eCommerce fit into our emerging infrastructure? We anchor to the market numbers in China and the United States.
Sometimes the things that break are the US Federal Reserve ACH service, Check 21, FedCash, Fedwire, and the national settlement service. They were down for a few hours — discovered at 11AM on Feb 24th and still in trouble at 3PM that day. Everything is now up and running again.
Welcome back to the Fintech Blueprint / Rebank podcast series hosted by Will Beeson and Lex Sokolin. Max Friedrich is a fintech analyst a ARK Invest, a public markets investment manager focused on disruptive technologies including autonomous tech, robotics, fintech, genomics and next generation internet. Max recently published a report on digital wallets, including Venmo and Square’s Cash App, which is available for download on ARK’s website. In this conversation, we explain why Cash App has seen exponential growth.
Welcome back to the Fintech Blueprint / Rebank podcast series hosted by Will Beeson and Lex Sokolin. In this episode, we talk through a few recent events that are indicative of the Fintech world right now. Brex raised an additional $150 million at a slightly improved valuation vs. its last round just as Monzo is reportedly looking at a 40% down round. Why? Shopify launched bank accounts for its merchants and announced the Shop app, basically an Amazon competitor plus Klarna, just as it worked with Facebook to support the launch of Facebook Shops and joined the Libra Association. Lots going on. Lastly, we discuss why Goldman’s M&A activity over the past couple years leads to the natural conclusion that they should buy Schwab.
Let's make a collective decision to see the glass as half-full. While physical banking (7,000 US branches gone during 2012-2017) and employment in the sector (425,000 jobs lost since 2013) has been contracting, digital commerce, banking, and investment management have been growing. Even DFA is finally giving in and lowering fees on their $600 billion institutional mutual fund family. Of course, Fintech has been a slow and gradual transformation, not a rapid disruption. We can make a choice to bemoan the loss of the past, or a choice to express an excitement for the future and participate in its making. Which side are you on?