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Hello everyone! Disrupt was this week, which meant I spent more time than usual with my feet in the air, watching panels and startup pitches. It was a lot of fun, but it also meant I had fewer calls than I could have in a more regular week. So what follows is an abridged bulletin that is a bit more observational than reported, if you follow. Let’s have fun!
First observation: NFT speculation is fun
I recently plunged one toe into the world of NFTs. After roaming the space, it was time to participate in a very minor way, as you can learn a lot more by doing than just reading. Of course, I try to avoid all possible ethical dilemmas, but I don’t think my possession of double-digit crypto to be able to try and buy a cheap JPEG will really turn the basket of apples upside down.
It all went to hell, but an NFT that a nice Twitter user sent me is racking up the stakes. While I didn’t get much pleasure from the particular image I now digitally signature on a particular blockchain more than, say, most other images online, it has been sporty to watch people try it out. to buy it from me.
Several offers worth hundreds of dollars popped up (the latest at $ 382.94), which made me wait and wonder who really wants my image. Guess I see speculation about collecting value in deals, but now I understand better why NFT fans are fired up by their cottage industry. After all, who doesn’t want to magically generate real value from an image that, until recently, would have had essentially zero value? It’s like cheating. (To be clear, I’m not selling my DTV because I don’t want to bother with taxes, and it Is it seemed that selling it for profit would generate some sort of ethical problem. So I guess I’ll hodl? Forever?)
Finding # 2: It’s a great time for fintech IPOs
The searing public market reception of the Boston-based fintech unicorn Toast this week showed the world that it is possible to get software-like valuations for payments revenue, provided you have a sufficient growth rate. fast. Our reading was that the warmth with which Toast was greeted at the exchange indicated that now is the perfect time for fintech unicorns to shed their collective duffs and go public.
I stick to that. But what I might have missed was how much value sits on the sidelines. Not in terms of rating – we already know those numbers – but in terms of the number of users. Observe the following tweet:
I wouldn’t have guessed that Chime was in fifth place, but these numbers just imply massive payouts which, as we’ve seen recently, are currently being valued as rivers of gold. So NuBank and Chime and Dave and them, do this thing? Please?
Third observation: Chinese technology is increasingly toxic
This week, news broke that the Zoom-Five9 deal could lead to regulatory issues regarding the acquiring company’s Chinese roots. If Zoom having R&D operations in China means it’s Five9’s megabuy going poof, that would be an indicator not only of the growing distance between the two world’s leading economies, but also a time of closing doors on a possible source of technological liquidity.
Also this week, Lithuania warned that Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi’s hardware is able to detect and block certain terms the Chinese government likes to censor. This might be how Xiaomi makes all of its phones, but it’s not a Great see. The country has “told its officials to get rid of their China-made smartphones after experts found they contained automatic censorship software and other security holes,” the Times reported.