April 6, 2021
Hello and welcome to Protocol | Fintech! This Tuesday: a spotlight on Coinbase's quarterly earnings, cards for everyone and soaring real-time payments.
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Coinbase is set to release its first-quarter earnings today ahead of its planned direct listing on April 14.
Investors will be watching the numbers closely to see if the cryptocurrency exchange's financials remain strong. Analysts are expecting a blockbuster float of Coinbase shares. The only thing that could slow it down is any weakness in Coinbase's fundamentals.
Coinbase is a rarity, with growth and profits. Many tech companies are growing fast but losing money. Coinbase turned profitable in 2020. As such, investors will be watching both the top and bottom lines.
Diversification is key. The crypto boom has been good for Coinbase. But if crypto prices fall, so could its trading revenue.
The thing is, people are already swapping shares of Coinbase. Shares of private companies can trade on what are known as secondary markets. Before Facebook went public in 2012, secondary trades gave some indication of the appetite for shares.
This could be crypto's Netscape moment. Even people who are leery of holding Bitcoin or ether might take a flier on the company.
A lot is riding on Coinbase, in other words. Despite the eye-popping jumps in cryptocurrency prices, there's more to the underlying technology. Applications built on blockchains show a lot of promise. If Coinbase does well, it could be just the beginning for crypto-related offerings.
Protocol's guide to the Coinbase direct listing has the latest updates.
— Tomio Geron
Alloy provides identity management software to banks and financial-technology startups.
What fintech trend do you find most exciting?
There's been a lot more regulatory attention focused just broadly around fintech. I think that's going to make or break a ton of interesting companies over the next five to 10 years.
What is the fintech trend that you're most worried about?
How do you make sure that you build a transparent and accessible system for the broad swath of America? As you continue to reduce friction, as you make it easier to interact with financial services, what are the sort of second- or third-order effects, particularly for underbanked segments, in how they're going to use your products? How do you think about education? [That's] an interesting problem that a lot more people are now starting to think about.
What has been your biggest professional blunder?
People who I passed on who in retrospect would have probably been awesome for the company. On the flip side were people who weren't a great fit for the company, but we kept on longer.
That's the number of real-time payments processed globally in 2020, an increase of 41% from 2019, according to ACI Worldwide. Less than 2 billion of these were in North America, a sign of how the region is lagging the rest of the world.
Thanks for reading — see you Friday.