As consumers nationwide struggle to stay cool, payments and commerce were on fire again this week as earnings results flowed in while an uncertain world readies itself for an increasingly uncertain second half of a year.
There’s a lot to watch in world that is undergoing a great digitalization, USEND COO and CTO Ran Grushkowsky told Karen Webster when he dropped in for the latest installment of The Week in Payments, noting that merchants and regulators are working simultaneously to keep on top of what’s coming next in payments and commerce.
“I think the crypto space every week catches our attention as there are a lot of interesting developments, a lot of big announcements by major financial institutions that would like to get into the space,” Grushkowsky said. “It’s still to be determined why — is it just to ride the hype? What is true innovation there?”
Looking at the week’s headlines as PayPal and Facebook pushed their very different super-app ambitions, Robinhood made its official debut on the public markets and Walmart decided to open up its digital toolbox to other merchants, Grushkowsky noted there’s a lot of impressive inventions out there, and real potential for all kinds of players.
Robinhood’s Rocky Public Debut
The public markets have a new FinTech entrant in Robinhood, the digital stock and cryptocurrency trading platform behind the meme stock rally this spring. The company began trading on the Nasdaq on Thursday (July 29) with an estimated valuation of $32 billion, after pricing its initial public offering (IPO) at the low end of it expected range only to fall further in the market. Robinhood’s IPO was one of the more highly valued firms to debut on the U.S. markets so far in 2021, as well as the worst opening day performer.
And while Robinhood has proven itself fast moving and innovative, it still has a massive PR problem to clean up with its users arising from the meme stock explosion earlier this year which pushed the platform to limit traders’ activity on the platform without their consent.
“Would you trust them with your money after they limited your capabilities to trade? I think that if they can address those concerns, Robinhood’s future is very promising because obviously they know very well how to make financial services accessible to the new generation of consumers,” Grushkowsky said.
But even beyond its PR issues, Robinhood has a bigger issue with regulators — and their mounting concern about the gamification of investment that lies at the heart of what distinguishes the platform from other online trading platforms. Ultimately, Grushkowsky said, it might require the firm to go back and retool its model and “turn their capabilities and expertise at gamifying the experience and turn into education” that empowers consumers to become better investors.
Walmart Opens Up Its Tech Tools
Walmart this week announced plans to extend access to some of the same technologies it uses for itself to merchants and brands selling on its eCommerce marketplace.
It’s a clever move, Grushkowsky said, and in line with recent moves by Amazon to extend more commerce capabilities to its marketplace merchants — though not at the Amazon price point. It’s a smart opportunity for Walmart, he said, and an opportunity to “take the niche” in a place where Amazon is still not so far ahead that they can take a decent stab of stealing back some market share.
Because, Grushkowsky noted, Walmart is often a bit undersold when considered for its technical capabilities.
“They are one of those brands that in the tech world, most people don’t know, that have made significant investments and are actually quite active in both acquisitions and investments. And Walmart’s true opportunity is to tap its brand power and make their services available. It remains to be determined how well they can emerge among all of those technologies,” he said.
But the competition between Walmart and Amazon — and across the eCommerce landscape — will have a net positive impact for the economy as a whole, he noted, because small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) will be the net winners of a competition among giants to help them reach consumers.
PayPal, Facebook And The Super-Sized Efforts At Super-Apps
PayPal has made its super-app ambitions clear for the better part of a year, and in its earnings call this week started to offer some color about what its more enriched financial services offering will be for consumers looking to control their financial lives from within the advanced PayPal ecosystem.
The challenge for PayPal, Grushkowsky told Webster, will be in innovating quickly given its massive size. With newcomers to digital financial services popping up nearly by the day, being a super-app that is totally caught up to the cutting edge is a tall order. There’s room for more players like PayPal to try and position themselves as super-apps — but that, he noted, means a lot of investment in innovation and a lot of acquisitions to stay ahead of a very dynamic market.
PayPal, he said, needs to start thinking truly globally now, and how it can offer level services across its market it really wants to attain the super app position it is gunning for in financial services.
Facebook, Webster and Grushkowsky agreed, was the other super-app play of the week, albeit a quieter one based more in the metaverse than FinTech.
“Facebook essentially has a track record of investing big before the market sees it. So I think that they are definitely innovators and visionaries and it paid off until now,” he said.
Its big investment in Oculus and the development of the metaverse, he said, is planting a flag early in ground that the general public hasn’t embraced yet — but that increasingly looks like it is going to present a slew of connected opportunities.
“Because essentially, it’s the new ecosystem, it’s version 5.0 the internet. And I think people need to start paying more attention to those developments specifically when you have a player like Facebook making those big announcements and betting heavily on it,” Grushkowsky said. “I think we have to pay attention.”
But then, there are a lot of plays to pay attention to in a week in payments. Because the big moves don’t stop, or slow down at all, even in the dog days of summer.
As shoppers nationwide wrestle to remain cool, funds and commerce had been on hearth once more this week as earnings outcomes flowed in whereas an unsure world readies itself for an more and more unsure second half of a yr.
There’s rather a lot to observe in world that’s present process a fantastic digitalization, USEND COO and CTO Ran Grushkowsky instructed Karen Webster when he dropped in for the most recent installment of The Week in Funds, noting that retailers and regulators are working concurrently to maintain on high of what’s coming subsequent in funds and commerce.
“I feel the crypto house each week catches our consideration as there are a variety of attention-grabbing developments, a variety of large bulletins by main monetary establishments that wish to get into the house,” Grushkowsky mentioned. “It’s nonetheless to be decided why — is it simply to journey the hype? What’s true innovation there?”
Wanting on the week’s headlines as PayPal and Fb pushed their very totally different super-app ambitions, Robinhood made its official debut on the general public markets and Walmart determined to open up its digital toolbox to different retailers, Grushkowsky famous there’s a variety of spectacular innovations on the market, and actual potential for all types of gamers.
Robinhood’s Rocky Public Debut
The general public markets have a brand new FinTech entrant in Robinhood, the digital inventory and cryptocurrency buying and selling platform behind the meme inventory rally this spring. The corporate started buying and selling on the Nasdaq on Thursday (July 29) with an estimated valuation of $32 billion, after pricing its preliminary public providing (IPO) on the low finish of it anticipated vary solely to fall additional available in the market. Robinhood’s IPO was one of many extra extremely valued companies to debut on the U.S. markets to this point in 2021, in addition to the worst opening day performer.
And whereas Robinhood has confirmed itself fast paced and revolutionary, it nonetheless has a large PR downside to scrub up with its customers arising from the meme inventory explosion earlier this yr which pushed the platform to restrict merchants’ exercise on the platform with out their consent.
“Would you belief them along with your cash after they restricted your capabilities to commerce? I feel that if they will handle these considerations, Robinhood’s future may be very promising as a result of clearly they know very effectively the way to make monetary providers accessible to the brand new technology of shoppers,” Grushkowsky mentioned.
However even past its PR points, Robinhood has an even bigger subject with regulators — and their mounting concern concerning the gamification of funding that lies on the coronary heart of what distinguishes the platform from different on-line buying and selling platforms. In the end, Grushkowsky mentioned, it would require the agency to return and retool its mannequin and “flip their capabilities and experience at gamifying the expertise and switch into training” that empowers shoppers to change into higher traders.
Walmart Opens Up Its Tech Instruments
Walmart this week introduced plans to lengthen entry to a few of the identical applied sciences it makes use of for itself to retailers and types promoting on its eCommerce market.
It’s a intelligent transfer, Grushkowsky mentioned, and in keeping with current strikes by Amazon to increase extra commerce capabilities to its market retailers — although not on the Amazon worth level. It’s a sensible alternative for Walmart, he mentioned, and a chance to “take the area of interest” in a spot the place Amazon continues to be not to this point forward that they will take an honest stab of stealing again some market share.
As a result of, Grushkowsky famous, Walmart is commonly a bit undersold when thought-about for its technical capabilities.
“They’re a kind of manufacturers that within the tech world, most individuals do not know, which have made important investments and are literally fairly energetic in each acquisitions and investments. And Walmart’s true alternative is to faucet its model energy and make their providers out there. It stays to be decided how effectively they will emerge amongst all of these applied sciences,” he mentioned.
However the competitors between Walmart and Amazon — and throughout the eCommerce panorama — may have a web optimistic affect for the financial system as a complete, he famous, as a result of small and medium-sized companies (SMBs) would be the web winners of a contest amongst giants to assist them attain shoppers.
PayPal, Fb And The Tremendous-Sized Efforts At Tremendous-Apps
PayPal has made its super-app ambitions clear for the higher a part of a yr, and in its earnings name this week began to supply some coloration about what its extra enriched monetary providers providing can be for shoppers seeking to management their monetary lives from inside the superior PayPal ecosystem.
The problem for PayPal, Grushkowsky instructed Webster, can be in innovating rapidly given its large dimension. With newcomers to digital monetary providers popping up practically by the day, being a super-app that’s completely caught as much as the leading edge is a tall order. There’s room for extra gamers like PayPal to attempt to place themselves as super-apps — however that, he famous, means a variety of funding in innovation and a variety of acquisitions to remain forward of a really dynamic market.
PayPal, he mentioned, wants to start out considering really globally now, and the way it can supply degree providers throughout its promote it actually desires to achieve the tremendous app place it’s gunning for in monetary providers.
Fb, Webster and Grushkowsky agreed, was the opposite super-app play of the week, albeit a quieter one primarily based extra within the metaverse than FinTech.
“Fb primarily has a monitor document of investing large earlier than the market sees it. So I feel that they’re positively innovators and visionaries and it paid off till now,” he mentioned.
Its large funding in Oculus and the event of the metaverse, he mentioned, is planting a flag early in floor that most of the people hasn’t embraced but — however that more and more seems to be like it’ll current a slew of related alternatives.
“As a result of primarily, it’s the brand new ecosystem, it’s model 5.0 the web. And I feel folks want to start out paying extra consideration to these developments particularly when you will have a participant like Fb making these large bulletins and betting closely on it,” Grushkowsky mentioned. “I feel we now have to concentrate.”
However then, there are a variety of performs to concentrate to in every week in funds. As a result of the large strikes don’t cease, or decelerate in any respect, even within the canine days of summer time.