Fintech’s next decade will look radically different

Originally @ Techcrunch The birth and growth of financial technology developed mostly over the last ten years. So as we look ahead, what does the next decade have in store? I believe we’re starting to see early signs: in the next ten years, fintech will become portable and ubiquitous as it moves to the background and centralizes into one place where our money is managed for us. When I started working in fintech in 2012, I had trouble tracking competitive search terms because no one knew what our sector was called. The best-known companies in the space were Paypal and Mint. Fintech has since become a household name, a shift that came with with prodigious growth in investment: from  $2 billion  in 2010 to over  $50 billion  in venture capital in 2018 (and  on-pace  for $30 billion+ this year). Predictions were made along the way with mixed results — banks will go out of business, banks will catch back up. Big tech will get into consumer finance. Narrow service providers

Libraʼs critics are missing the forest for the trees

Originally @ Techcruch It would be an understatement to say it’s been a rocky couple months for Libra, the Facebook-proposed stablecoin. Since its announcement in June, multiple high-profile members of the cryptocurrency’s consortium have jumped ship (many due to direct pressure from legislators). A congressional hearing on Libra turned into an evisceration of Facebook’s data and privacy practices. Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard assailed the project’s lack of controls. And the Chinese government announced its own competitive digital currency. But critics of the idea, though they are well-intentioned, are missing the forest for the trees. In spite of Libra’s well-cataloged risks and unanswered questions, there is a massive opportunity in plain sight for the global financial system. It would be a tragedy to let that opportunity be destroyed on the basis of Facebook’s reputation or Libra’s haphazard go-to-market.  Governments should heed the lesson of the US/USSR

What money should be

Originally @ TechCrunch With the release of the Facebook consortium’s project  Libra  whitepaper, the internet, tech world, financial services industry and policy circles are all burning with conversation on the project’s potential. We are still very early into Libra’s life — it is, after all, still a proposal — and there is an endless set of questions left to answer. The project could redefine how we view money or it could be a complete failure; we won’t know which for years to come. While there isn’t much to add to the (likely thousands) of pundit takes on the project until more details come out, this moment does provide us with an opportunity to step back and take a look at money itself. We should be asking ourselves: how does money work today and how should it work? Money is an anachronistically analog part of everyday life. The last 25 years saw the digitization of most services businesses, from communications (email) to bookstores (Amazon) to taxis (Uber). Yet, even with