January 25, 2022
Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty Images
Good morning, and welcome to Protocol Fintech. This Tuesday: There's market madness for crypto and fintech, South Korea moves forward with its CBDC, and the sector sets a funding record.
— Owen Thomas (email | twitter)
Fintech stocks had been some of the best-performing during the pandemic. But in recent weeks they’ve been dropping with the rest of tech.
Most fintech stocks are seeing red in 2022, even with wild swings Monday that saw tech claw back some losses. PayPal is down close to 17% year-to-date, close to its 52-week low of $152.08. Block is down 28.5% year-to-date, and at one point Monday was close to its 52-week low of $102. SoFi is down over 15% year-to-date and Affirm is down close to 39%.
Overall the market is adjusting to the Fed preparing to hike interest rates, said Mark Palmer, managing director at BTIG, which is affecting all assets, but tech in particular.
As goes tech, so goes fintech. Tech and fintech stocks have had sky-high valuations — some with price-to-earnings ratios without the, um, earnings.
Despite the market gyrations, consumers still have cash to spend. That’s good news for fintech companies.
Rising rates could lift some boats. Inflation can erode consumers’ spending power, but some companies can benefit from higher interest rates.
The fintech sector is tech, but it’s also finance. In the short term, fintech shares will get dragged along with tech. In the longer term, what happens to the economy and interest rates may prove more meaningful. And critically, the benefits will be unevenly distributed. The nimblest will be the ones to profit.
Club Revenue on Nasdaq digs into the strategies driving revenue growth at the highest performing companies. Tune in as Clari’s CMO Cornelius Willis interviews innovative revenue leaders to learn their tactics for building sales teams that drive unmatched success for their customers.
Are we in another crypto winter? Protocol Fintech’s Ben Pimentel digs into the larger meaning of the latest bitcoin rout.
The Bank of Korea successfully completed the first phase of its CBDC pilot program and is gearing up for more. It’s not the only country moving forward with a digital currency. China, Nigeria and the UAE are just some of the many countries that have also rolled out pilot programs.
What in the world are mystery box NFT sneakers? Sneakmart, a French startup, is launching Metakicks, the first ever NFT sneaker collection distributed through mystery boxes. Only 625 of the 6,250 NFT mystery boxes will contain physical limited-edition sneakers. It’s another example of how NFTs are transforming collectible markets, with Nike purchasing a virtual shoe company just last month.
Latin America tripled 2020’s VC funding total in 2021, with a record $15.3 billion raised by startups. Of that total, 39% went to fintech startups, according to LAVCA.
Attackers stole over $1 million in NFTs from OpenSea users. At least three attackers exploited a bug on OpenSea to buy at least eight NFTs way under market value, including some Bored Apes.
Biden wants to regulate crypto from the White House. Bloomberg reported that the Biden administration is set to issue an executive order on crypto next month. The directive will ask for federal agencies to report back later this year.
Aver raised $7.5 million. The peer-to-peer betting exchange’s seed round was led by Jump Crypto.
Blockchain Founders Fund raised $75 million. Investors in the Singapore-based VC fund include NEO Global Capital, Appworks, Baksh Capital, Octava and Sebastien Borget, COO of The Sandbox.
Canalyst raised $70 million. The financial data and analytics company’s Series C round was led by Dragoneer Investment Group.
Core Scientific merged with Power & Digital Infrastructure Acquisition Corp. The combined entity is now one of the largest publicly traded bitcoin miners.
Doconomy raised $19 million. The climate tech firm’s equity round was led by CommerzVentures.
Tiger Global Management led a $50 million round for the Graph Foundation. Other investors in the blockchain indexing company include FinTech Collective and Fenbushi Capital, who were all issued a token called The Graph.
Habi acquired its Mexican competition, OKOL. The Softbank-backed Colombian real estate startup bought OKOL, the parent of online marketplace Propiedades.com, making it the largest iBuyer in Mexico.
Route is now worth $1.2 billion. The ecommerce package-tracking company’s latest funding round raised $200 million, which Route says will go towards developing increased personalization.
Sayata added another $35 million to its series A round. With funding from Pitango Growth, Hanaco Ventures and others, the marketplace for insurance brokers wants to speed the addition of new business insurance lines.
Vartana raised $57 million. I80 Group led a seed funding round for the provider of “buy now, pay later” tools.
Everyone wants to IPO—but how do you really get it done, in a way that moves markets and inspires investors? You need the type of confidence and growth that starts from within. WalkMe’s CFO, Andrew Casey, shares how he rethought quotas, metrics, and what drives his teams, so WalkMe could go public—and go big.
Thanks for reading — see you Wednesday!