Posted In:

Crypto, NYDIG, Twitter


#458
Bringing X (and Y) to Life

Published:

Oct 10, 2022


Author:

Cindy Grazer

Posted In:

Crypto, NYDIG, Twitter

Published:

Oct 10, 2022


Author:

Cindy Grazer


Share:

What do you get when you combine social commerce and payment flows? According to Elon Musk – the “everything app” – also known in more conventional terms as a super app. While the label “super app” has been thrown around by everyone from Affirm (shopping, payments, and financial services) to Walmart (online purchasing and personal finance), the common thread of unifying consumers’ social and financial lives has emerged.

Few of these businesses, if any, have been able to rival the North Star of super apps: WeChat. An app through which hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens and businesses use on a daily basis, WeChat has consistently expanded to encompass everything from payments, to news and entertainment, to restaurant reservations, to mobility services.

This is likely not due to a lack of comparable innovation in the US, however. Rather, a host of cultural, technological, and political factors have all played a role in creating different conditions for success. Most notably, studies have shown that US consumers enjoy the optionality afforded by multiple apps and have far less willingness to share aggregated data with a single source. From a tech perspective, smartphones allow us to maintain these preferences, whereas lower powered smartphones in China often aren’t suited to manage a large number of separate apps. Lastly, the Chinese government has been a proponent of WeChat’s growth (and the enormous data the app produces), while similar consolidation (and the outright ban of competitors including Google and Facebook) in the US would likely raise flags for antitrust regulators.

These considerations have yet to deter Elon, though. As he tweeted recently, “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.” Now it’s just a matter of time before we find out whether Elon will follow through with the purchase and begin working on the “everything app” or if he’s moved on from smoking weed to something more powerful.

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Portfolio News


NYDIG raises $720m for Institutional Bitcoin Fund as BTC balance rises 100% YoY in Q3 - In a press release this week, the company announced that NYDIG's Bitcoin holdings hit their all-time high during the third quarter of 2022. This rise marks a 100% YoY growth in the BTC balances. The company's revenue also increased by 130% through the second quarter, with further growth expected by the close of the book in Q3. Read more

Nasdaq TV - Devron and the need for banks to better manage the data they have on hand - Devron Founder & CEO Kartik Chopra joins Jill Malandrino on Nasdaq TradeTalks to discuss the American Data Privacy & Protection Act the need for banks and financial institutions to better manage the data they have on hand. Read more

Bringing X (and Y) to Life


Elon Musk’s ‘everything app’ plan for Twitter rekindles dotcom dream - Since launching his original bid in April, Musk has said that owning Twitter is more about preserving the platform as an open venue for “free speech” — not to mention solving its spam problem, which apparently irritates Musk as a heavy user — than about making money. However, over the summer, Musk hinted at a bigger plan for Twitter: turning it into the backbone of a WeChat-style “super app” that acts as an operating system for people’s digital lives. Read more

Musk's "super app" vision - The concept of an "everything app" or a "super app" — which serves as a hub for multiple services within a single user interface — is based on the model for mobile software that's dominant in China via WeChat, the original super app. However, as Axios pointed out, building a super app in the U.S. is tougher than in China because of data privacy concerns, stricter banking regulations and mobile operating systems that make it harder for individual apps to establish their own payment terms independently. Read more

Building 21st century companies in Asia - To win in the Asian century, companies in Asia need to build new capabilities to thrive in a radically different world—and play their full role in the health of societies. The question is how. In this article, McKinsey first explores the evolving corporate landscape in Asia, and then discusses five themes that emerged most strongly from a series of interviews with CEOs in the region that can determine success or failure in the period ahead, exploring priorities. Read more

The super app model may not be suitable for the US market - Super apps may be widely popular in Asia and quickly gaining ground in Africa and Latin America (LatAm), they have little chance to succeed in the US because of lacking consumer interest, cultural barriers as well as data privacy and security concerns, a new report says. Read more

Industry News


SWIFT shapes global CBDC framework following 8-month study - A study analyzing the international use of CBDCs and the underlying distributed ledger technologies shows promise for cross-border interoperability among countries with varying and emerging digital ecosystems. Launched about eight months ago by financial messaging system SWIFT, in partnership with Capgemini and central banks from France and Germany, the study concluded that a “new CBDC interlinking solution” can be used to facilitate CBDC cross-border payments. Read more

Ray Dalio gives up control of Bridgewater in final succession step - On Sept. 30, he transferred all of his voting rights to the board of directors and stepped down as one of Bridgewater’s three co-chief investment officers. It’s also a milestone. While some of his peers converted the firms they founded into family offices or closed shop, Dalio was determined to create something that outlasted him. Read more

Investment manager Hamilton Lane to tokenize 3 funds through Securitize - Hamilton Lane plans to give qualified U.S.-based investors access to funds providing exposure to direct equities, private credit and secondary transactions, which will be tokenized via Securitize's digital transfer agency. The aim of tokenization is to make private market investment available to a broader set of investors, and the announcement comes after KKR made a similar move. Read more

CIOs still waiting for cloud investments to pay off - Many companies that have shifted enterprise-technology tools into the cloud in recent years, in part as a cost-saving measure, say those investments have yet to pay off. Some are even seeing costs go up. "You discover your cloud architecture is immature when you’re surprised by the bill". Read more

Futures giant CME considers brokerage, taking cue from crypto rival FTX - The CME criticized crypto exchange FTX’s plan to cut out the middlemen in the futures markets. Now, the Chicago exchange giant is taking a step in the same direction. In August, CME submitted paperwork to register a futures commission merchant, or FCM - essentially, a brokerage that would allow investors to buy and sell futures on CME’s marketplace. Read more

U.S. rewrites digital privacy rules for Europeans to keep data flowing - The U.S. is starting to implement a deal with the European Union aimed at allowing information about Europeans to continue to be stored on U.S. soil, reducing a looming threat to thousands of companies with trans-Atlantic operations. Read more

Binance estimates $100m was stolen in blockchain hack - Crypto exchange Binance said late Thursday that $100 million was likely stolen as a result of a hack on its Binance Smart Chain blockchain network. Binance Smart Chain temporarily suspended transactions and fund transfers, after detecting what it said was an exploit on a bridge between two blockchains. Read more

Lunch with the FT - Elon Musk: ‘Aren’t you entertained?’ - This weekend the FT has lunch with Musk - a maverick and serial tweeter to his more than 100m followers. He flouts convention, revels in outrageous outbursts, fights with regulators and staff, and taunts competitors. He has regular run-ins with the Securities and Exchange Commission too. Read more

Mastercard pushes deeper into crypto with new tool for combating fraud - Called Crypto Secure, the system uses “sophisticated” artificial intelligence algorithms to determine the risk of crime associated with crypto exchanges on the Mastercard payment network. The system relies on data from the blockchain, a public record of crypto transactions, as well as other sources. The service is powered by CipherTrace, a blockchain security startup Mastercard acquired last year. Read more

Kim Kardashian pays over $1m to settle SEC charges linked to a crypto promo on her Instagram - Kardashian agreed to pay $1.26m to settle the charges over a promotion on Instagram for EthereumMax’s crypto asset, the SEC said. She will also cooperate with an ongoing investigation, and has agreed to not promote crypto securities for three years, the regulator added. Read more

Twitter buyout revives $12.5b headache for Wall Street banks - If terms of the original $12.5b financing package remain the same, bankers may struggle to sell the risky Twitter buyout debt just as credit markets begin to crack. With yields at multiyear highs, they’re potentially on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars of losses on the unsecured portion alone should they try to unload it to investors. That’s because they would almost certainly have to offer the debt at a steep discount. Read more

Africa's fintech market defies VC downturn - Outsize valuations and choppy market conditions have caused investors to become more cautious when backing fintech startups. Several countries, including the US, have seen a significant drop in deal activity. But Africa's burgeoning fintech market is bucking the trend. So far this year, the sector has seen $1.3b invested across 151 deals, according to PitchBook data. By comparison, $1.6b was invested across 190 deals in 2021. Read more

Argentine fintech company Uala to invest $150m on Mexico, Colombia expansion, CEO says - Argentina's fintech unicorn Uala will invest $150m over the next 18 months to boost its digital banking business, mainly in Mexico and Colombia, its Chief Executive Pierpaolo Barbieri said in an interview with Reuters. The fast-growing firm, which has a valuation of some $2.5b, is aiming to expand its user base at least fivefold to 25-30m people in the next five years, from 5m users currently around in Latin America. Read more

Adyen partners Tink for open banking payments - Dutch fintech giant Adyen is embedding technology from Tink to enable its customers to offer open banking payments. Adyen will tap Tink’s payment initiation technology to enable businesses to access account-to-account payments, beginning in the UK with more markets to follow in 2023. Read more

Select Financings



Amplify Life Insurance - San Francisco based digital life insurance platform raised $10 million in growth funding led by Munich Re Ventures. Read more

Blackbird - US based web3 loyalty platform for the hospitality industry raised $11m in Seed funding led by Union Square Ventures, Shine Capital and Multicoin Capital. Read more

Elpha Secure Technology - New York based cyber insurance startup raised $20m in Series A funding led by Canapi Ventures. Read more

Exponential - Miami based DeFi yield investing platform raised $14m in Seed funding led by Paradigm. Read more

Jiko - Oakland based fintech company that automates T-bill investments and storage raised $40m in Series B funding led by Red River West. Read more

Juno - Singapore based platform for users to take paychecks in digital tokens raised $18m in Series A funding led by ParaFi Capital. Read more

Korea Credit Data - South Korea based SME bookkeeping and revenue management software maker raised $24.7m in Series D extension funding led by Fiserv and LG Uplus. Read more

NoFrixion - Dublin based installment payments firm raised €3.6m in growth funding led by Delta Partners and Middlegame Ventures. Read more

Railsr - London based embedded finance startup raised $26m in growth funding led by Anthos Capital. Read more

ShopBack - Singapore based e-commerce rewards app raised $80m in Series F funding led by Temasek's equity partners. Read more

Solvento - Mexico City based payments and credit startup for carriers raised $5m in Seed funding led by Ironspring Ventures. Read more

Spleet - Nigeria based proptech raised $2.6m in Seed funding led by MaC Venture Capital. Read more

Tally Technologies - San Francisco based startup that automates credit card payments raised $80m in Series D funding led by Sway Ventures. Read more

Toqio - London based low-code fintech platform raised €20m in Series A funding led by AlbionVC. Read more


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