FTT Update: 2021 Mastercard vs 2017 Mastercard

Hi all, Julie here. Thanks again to everyone that joined my Clubhouse with Aditi from AskZeta last night! Can't wait to do more of these. If you have topic ideas or want me to host one with you, reply to this email or send me a DM on Twitter! Happy to brainstorm ideas. 


The News

SPAC For MoneyLion

MoneyLion is the latest fintech company to go public via a SPAC. The startup is estimated to have a post-transaction value of $2.9B when it merges with blank-check firm Fusion Acquisition Corp. Pretty crazy considering that not that long ago it was struggling to raise a private bridge round. 

The New York-based firm was founded in 2013 and is led by co-founder and CEO Diwakar Choubey. According to its investor presentation, MoneyLion has 1.4M users with accounts and a $102M run rate at 197% year-over-year growth. While the firm calls itself a challenger bank, less than 10% of revenues comes from payments so it’s a very different product than a Chime, Current or even SoFi. Oh, and it has a tipping option, and you guys already know how I feel about tips... 

Wall Street Getting Pressured On Bitcoin

I’ve talked before about how many people at JPMorgan like Bitcoin, but CEO Jamie Dimon likes to call it a fraud. Well, pressure is building internally at JPM and elsewhere to accept Bitcoin as a legitimate asset class.

According to my friend Hugh Son at CNBC, during a JPMorgan town hall meeting last month, global markets head Troy Rohrbaugh acknowledged a question that is increasingly being asked by the bank’s own employees: When will they get involved in bitcoin? According to JPM co-president Daniel Pinto, the firm is trying to be more open-minded about bitcoin. 

In an interview with CNBC, Pinto said: 

“If over time an asset class develops that is going to be used by different asset managers and investors, we will have to be involved. The demand isn’t there yet, but I’m sure it will be at some point.”

The “open-mindedness,” whether sincere or not, shows the pressure Wall Street is facing to get more involved in cryptocurrencies. I remember being a reporter at Bloomberg covering the staggering rise in Bitcoin over the holiday season and hearing rumors of Goldman starting a trading desk dedicated to crypto. Those plans were eventually shelved, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re starting up again given the massive rise in interest in the space since the second half of 2020. 

2021 Mastercard vs 2017 Mastercard

Speaking of crypto and the increased interest, Mastercard is bringing crypto onto its network. The firm said that it’s seen a substantial rise in people using its cards to buy crypto assets, especially as of late. Because of this, Mastercard said it will start supporting select cryptocurrencies directly on its network sometime this year. 

“We are here to enable customers, merchants and businesses to move digital value — traditional or crypto — however they want. It should be your choice, it’s your money."

Not all of today’s cryptocurrencies will be supported on its network. According to Mastercard, many of the hundreds of digital assets in circulation still need to tighten their compliance measures, so they won’t meet it's requirements.

This is a HUGE change from the 2017-2018 run up where Mastercard, Visa and several banks either made it extremely hard to buy crypto or banned it all together

Stripe Funds Pakistan Based Startup 

So I don’t know a ton about Pakistan, but it seems like there are a LOT of interesting things happening in the fintech space there. This week, Karachi-based Safepay announced it has raised seed funding from none other than Stripe. Safepay was founded in 2019 and was part of Y Combinator’s Summer 2020 batch. 

Apparently, there is a lot of room for growth in the payments system in the region. 

Founders Ziyad Parekh and Raza Naqvi started the company with the aim to build digital payments solutions for Pakistani merchants. Safepay will use the funding to hire engineers geared towards increasing digital payment acceptance in Pakistan, as well as for compliance costs.


Community Highlights

Our friends at Wharton Fintech published a great post (with some tips from yours truly) discussing love and money. Be sure to give the podcast a listen and the post a read to hear what I as well as many others had to say on this topic. 


Career Corner

Two job postings today from two of our favorite challenger banks: 

Senior Product Manager, Current: As a senior member of the Product Management team, you will help plan, design, and execute cross-functional feature development particularly focused on onboarding and growth at one of the fastest-growing fintech companies. You will manage the product roadmap, run biweekly sprint planning meetings, and drive daily sprints. You will define and analyze metrics that inform product success & health. You will guide other PMs, and help lead a highly functioning team. 6+ years B2C experience.

New team at Chime: Our friend Maia Bittner is building out a new team at Chime called Voice of the Member. She's looking for folks that are customer oriented and great at things like product analytics, user research, product management, or customer service. You'll track sentiment and new product ideas across lots of different channels, do root cause analysis, and improve the product by setting priorities with execs and working with the product team. A job posting will go up next week, but send her a DM if you're interested! 

That's all for this week. Tune in tomorrow to hear Cokie talk about payday lending and Sunday for my deep dive into the world of influencers and how fintech companies are leveraging them for growth! 


Julie VerHage-Greenberg is the co-founder of Fintech Today, where she focuses on editorial content and brand. Prior to joining, she was Bloomberg’s first fintech reporter, covering Robinhood from before it was a billion dollar company, breaking the news that Plaid was acquiring Quovo, and interviewing executives on Bloomberg TV and at several large conferences.

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