Google has done it. In a massive update to Google Pay, the company highlighted exactly the direction of travel for high tech, fintech, and the global banks. It has articulated a vision for competing with Apple Pay and Ant Financial. Let's walk through the features.
I dig deeply into the $5.3 billion acquisition of data aggregator Plaid by $500 billion payments network Visa. We examine why this deal is worth 25-50x revenue, while Yodlee's sale to Envestnet was priced much lower. We also look at how Plaid could be an existential threat to Visa, and why paying 1% of marketcap to protect 200 million accounts may be a good bet. Broader implications for product manufacturers across payments, investments, and banking also emerge -- the middle is getting carved out, and infrastructure providers like Visa or BlackRock are moving closer to the consumer.
I look at how the news about the spread of the coronovirus are cracking the global economic machine. Some may argue that the number of people effected is still low -- but that misses the entire point. The shock of a global pandemic has revealed weakness in the financial machine, sending the stock markets falling 10% year-to-date. Gross domestic product growth is expected to slow by billions of dollars, governments and central banks are unable to implement policy to compensate with rates at historic lows and borrowing at historic highs, public market valuations will tumble arithmetically, and private Fintech companies will lose a path to exit. At least that's what the conspiracy theorists want you to think!
In the long take this week, I try out a contrarian point of view on personal finance chatbots. Trim, a savings chatbot, just withdrew support from Facebook Messenger. While lots of other chatbots are still invested in conversational banking, what could we take away from the counterfactual of chatbots failing to get B2C traction? What is the impact on the rest of the platform wars waged by Amazon, Google, and Tesla for connected homes, cars, and the Internet of Things?