Payments, Wallets & Frictionless Commerce

Upsurge of Fintech Investments

The latest upswing of investor interest in fintech companies has been driven in no small part by the long-awaited public listing of Coinbase (Nasdaq: COIN) on April 14. The closing share price on April 23 was above $290, over eight times its secondary market valuation just a year ago, which had remained relatively flat since the last funding round in 2018, which had priced the stock at $36/share. This 800% gain seems in turn to be closely linked to the remarkable rise in the value of bitcoin recently, which itself has also seen an eight-fold increase over the last twelve months.

In this type of situation, a smart market watcher would take a step back from the daily trading minutiae to study the impact that Coinbase, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies and digital assets are having on the overall financial industry. In particular, it is interesting to observe how the business models of traditional banks and well-heeled brokerage firms have been upturned by disruptive new entrants into the market. For example, Robinhood’s high-profile introduction of commission-free trading caused a rapid spread of copycat offerings among the major established retail brokerages.  

Back-End Developers Stand Out

Other fintech innovations worthy of note involve the back-end processes for holding and exchanging financial assets among global players across the banking industry. For decades, and sometimes centuries, the world’s banking heavyweights have occupied a cosy – and highly lucrative – monopolist position at the crossroads of international trade and finance. By controlling access to the global payments and settlements system, these transnational corporations have been earning billions annually from transaction fees, foreign exchange commissions, and cross-border transfer charges.

In this highly-dynamic playing field, three key disruptive innovators stand out. Uphold offers digital wallet services to retail customers across the world. These services enable users to carry out seamless transactions between numerous different currencies and other digital assets at minimal cost in time and money. Apto Payments advances frictionless commerce by enabling fast-growing digital asset ventures to easily issue specially-branded debit or credit cards to consumers and businesses. And GlobaliD provides a privacy-centric authentication platform that gives individuals full control over their unique digital identities and bypasses insecure usernames and passwords.  

Linqto has the pleasure and honor of welcoming three representatives from these disruptive innovators as panelists at its next Global Investor Conference:

J. P. Thieriot is the CEO of innovative fintech enterprise Uphold. He is a serial entrepreneur, having founded a number of companies in the real estate, agriculture and technology sectors. After graduating from Yale, J.P. kicked off his career as a key player at the influential technology investment bank Hambrecht & Quist.

Uphold, was founded in 2013, as a fintech venture in London UK.Since its inception, the company has powered more than $4 billion in transactions, serving 184+ countries across 30+ currencies (traditional and crypto) and commodities. It provides “frictionless” foreign exchange and has partnered with Linqto to provide a digital wallet.

Meg Nakamura is a co-founder of card issuance platform Apto Payments.  She is an investment partner at Hard Yaka, an early stage seed fund for startup ventures focused on improving exchanges between seekers and providers of goods, services, and information. Meg is also on the advisory board of Bloom Protocol, which provides decentralized credit scoring using blockchain technologies.

Apto Payments was founded in 2014 and is based in San Francisco. The company provides access to stored-value assets like precious metals, gold, bitcoin, and airline miles, as well as ordinary fiat currencies, and uses traditional credit card mechanisms to streamline transactions for its innovative platform.

Greg Kidd is the CEO of fintech venture GlobaliD, a San Francisco-based trust platform. He is a founding partner of Hard Yaka, and was an early investor in Twitter, Square, Ripple, Coinbase, and Robinhood.  Greg’s investment strategy focuses -on digital currencies and asset exchange markets, portable identity systems, and reputation/trust/risk technologies.

GlobaliD provides a portable identity framework that allows individuals and businesses to securely and privately manage all their online account access permissions. The company uses an open and accessible public ledger for all to see and use. In this way, it eliminates the need for silo-based approaches to compliance and risk management.

To continue learning about digital assets and trends in private investing, we also invite you to register for our Global Investor Conference, taking place on June 22, 2021.