Stripe, Citadel, Alexa AND CRYPTO
Giving the crowd what it wants
Crypto gets the most engagement of topics I write about, so here’s more!
Link with Stripe
As a devoted tech analyst, I took the plunge and paid $3 for “Twitter Blue”. While the experience is a bit underwhelming so far, what intrigued me was the checkout with Stripe. As I predicted in 2020 when writing about Fast, Stripe has implemented a universal ‘fast’ checkout. I received a code and paid in seconds. That is a tremendous challenge to the checkout businesses including Bolt and Fast. Shopify and Stripe both have passable (or even strong) solutions. The room to maneuver in this space is rapidly tightening.
Citadel and Crypto?
I’m sure there will be more thoughts here over the coming days, but I was stunned to see Sequoia and Paradigm (upstart crypto fund) take an investment in Gamestop saga Uber-Villain Citadel. Citadel is a traditional financial firm with hedge fund and stock trading arms. Presumably, they are eyeing crypto trading. This unquestionably provides some legitimacy to crypto. If I were to guess, I suspected the estimated 20 Trillion (not a typo) in volume traded on Binance may have them licking their chops. .1% of that would be $20 billion in incremental revenue, albeit revenue coming with high risk, legal uncertainty, and volatility. Goldman famously shorted the housing market while trading it to their clients, so I wouldn’t take this as a market bottom quite yet.
Parallels between Alexa and Crypto?
Bloomberg had an interesting article over the holidays detailing the peak (and arguable decline) of the at-home assistants including Alexa. The story feels a bit of a parallel to the current times – a technology breakthrough, mass investment, market explosion, and frankly some mainly contrived use cases. With all due respect to my friend who worked on Google’s assistant, the achievable uses never quite lived up to expectations. The verbal interface is convenient when you are cooking in the kitchen with both hands, but that same interface also introduces a high barrier of friction and inconvenience. Just today, I struggled to get Siri to differentiate between 15 and 50-minute timers.
I’m less negative than some about what could come of Blockchain technology (see last week for some bearish perspectives in the link section). However, the parallels strike me as quite uncanny here. A bonafide technological breakthrough (the byzantine general problem) has led to a massive frenzy and market explosion. We have some contrived use cases (Current web3 gaming, current NFTs), as well as a whole bunch of shenanigans, likely violations of federal law, and the still intriguing concept of non-sovereign money. The Siri example I dealt with today is quite fitting – I don’t care about the technology if the use case or implementation sucks.