January 4, 2022
Photo: Getty Images
Hello and welcome to Protocol | Fintech! This Tuesday: the Web3 fight continues, Tencent buys in to Monzo, and Check’s CEO on fintech infrastructure.
What’s gotten into Marc Andreessen?
Jack Dorsey, apparently. A feud between the two tech titans that started before Christmas is still going strong in 2022. The creator of the Netscape browser (a hero of Web 1.0) and a co-founder of Twitter (a paragon of Web 2.0) sparring like teenagers on Reddit over the meaning of “Web3” would be an amusingly petty spectacle if there weren’t billions of dollars and the future of an industry at stake.
Dorsey started it. On Dec. 20, he tweeted: "You don't own 'web3.' The VCs and their LPs do."
That set Andreessen off. “In 2022, I am GOING TO BLOCK SO MANY PEOPLE,” he declared in a Jan. 1 tweet featuring a meme of J-Lo and Ben Affleck.
This is not a good look for anyone. Dorsey comes off as flippant, and Andreessen thin-skinned and immature.
The upside is that Dorsey and Andreessen revealed a growing cultural rift in the crypto movement. Crypto-utopians like Dorsey are fixated by the sociocultural implications of new technologies. Financiers like Andreessen are more interested in the money to be made in the transition. If this were a blockchain project, we’d just fork things and move on. But life is messier than that.
— Ben Pimentel (email | twitter) and Owen Thomas (email | twitter)
A version of this story appeared on Protocol.com.
59 million Americans work outside the traditional employer benefit system - and more and more are moving away from that model as the gig economy grows. People, during the pandemic, are taking a step back and thinking about the traditional job setting and asking: ‘Is this what I want to do?’
Crypto payments will definitely, maybe, possibly go mainstream in 2022. Consumer and merchant education, regulatory questions and the state of fiat-crypto onramps are still roadblocks.
IPOs set records in 2021, but there are more teed up for 2022. Stripe is on the top of bankers’ wishlists.
Protocol | Entertainment launches today. Our colleagues Janko Roettgers and Nick Statt are going beyond the buzzwords to report in depth on the future of the internet and entertainment as we know it. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
“Politicians here have had an outdated perception of digital assets at a crucial time when the blockchain technologies used for cryptocurrencies, NFTs and the metaverse, are advancing rapidly day after day.” —South Korean lawmaker Lee Kwang-jae on his plans to accept campaign donations in crypto.
“It’s like the dot-com bubble. Ninety-nine point nine percent will be gone. But those that survive will become the Googles of the world.” – Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov on the future of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
What fintech trend are you most excited about?
The number of infrastructure-first companies making our financial system more accessible to developers is incredibly exciting to me. Payments was the big focus over the past few years, but now you’ve got companies focused on almost every aspect of financial services, whether that be banking, lending, trading or (as in Check’s case) payroll.
What problem would you like to see a fintech company solve?
It’s probably too big a problem for any one company to solve, but the antiquated payment rails in this country still drive me crazy on a daily basis. The ability to debit from one account and credit to another across financial institutions with instant settlement is still a distant dream, when it should be a reality.
What's your advice to younger technologists who want to build a career in this field?
Pursue your curiosity. Tech is a field that favors the young because you’re often able to see the future more clearly, unburdened by what has and has not worked in the past. Use that to your advantage and go deep on the technologies and problem areas that interest you. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you can become an expert in many areas.
Tencent has taken a stake in Monzo. The Chinese gaming and social media giant has reportedly invested $100 million in the British neobank now valued at $4.5 billion.
EToro’s valuation was slashed to $8.8 billion. The online brokerage is set to go public via a SPAC merger with the Betsy Cohen-backed Fintech Acquisition Corp. V, which has reduced the company’s valuation from $10.4 billion.
Sarah Bloom Raskin may be Biden’s pick for the Federal Reserve. The White House is said to be eyeing the former Fed governor and Treasury Department official as one of three nominees for the central bank board seats.
FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams resigned. Williams, who was appointed by President Trump and was known to clash with Democratic members of the FDIC board, said her resignation would be effective Feb. 4.
Addi raised $200 million in equity and debt funding. The Latin American “buy now, pay later” company secured $80 million in equity financing from investors that included GIC Private Ltd. and SoftBank. It secured $125 million in debt financing, primarily from Goldman Sachs.
Jupiter raised $86 million. The Bangalore-based neobank’s series C round was led by Tiger Global, QED and Sequoia Capital India.
A shift in the way health insurance and benefits are handled has helped free workers from unfavorable working conditions and unlocked opportunity for the millions of gig workers entering the labor market. In October 2020, Mastercard and Stride Health partnered to bring portable benefits to gig and independent workers.
207.53 exahashes per second: That’s the bitcoin network’s new all-time high hashrate, a measure of how many miners are involved in managing the network and how secure it is, reached on Saturday.
Thanks for reading — see you Friday!