Whether you live by your Twitter lists, save your Google Alerts or simply scroll through LinkedIn for insights and commentary – there is a wealth of content that weaves a global story around FinTech. Our job at FinTech Talents is to work within that global story – finding the news items, conventional wisdoms and hard data that aids us in bringing the industry the best Content, Community and Experiences in the business.
Every week, one member of our content team will offer a rundown of links and posts that filled our content channels over the previous seven days. Our rundown will offer a brief summary of the information, a link to original post and an insight into why it ‘caught our eye’. All of this aims to offer you a chance to ‘Bookmark’ the timely resources and real time conversations that are shaping FinTech week after week.
This week’s FTT Bookmark is brought to you by Director of Strategy at VC Innovations, Lisa Moyle
GME Oh Stonks – the world of stock trading goes radical and viral
Unless you have truly been hibernating for the past week, you will have noticed that a particular mall-based game store has been dominating headlines. I knew something was up when one of the kids asked me to explain ‘short selling’ and suddenly seemed to be remarkably tuned into the movements of the stock market.
The GameStop share price journey has it all. Starting with the tale of a retail outlet whose challenges from the progressive shift away from physical to e-commerce to digital download were accelerated by the ravages of deadly pandemic. Add in a seeming real life David vs Goliath battle as followers of a lively Reddit investing subgroup, r/WallStreetBets (and not to be left out, Tik Tok users) went up against the Power of Wall Street.
Determined to prove Wall Street both wrong and vulnerable – some Hedge Funds had bet against the games retailer by shorting the stock – Rise the Reddit Army. As individual Traders piled into the GameStop some Hedge Funds lost big. Whilst many small investors won big in the short term, the game goes on and the concern is that the large swings and adjustments that follow may leave many vulnerable to losses they are be unable to bear. This drew the attention of regulators in short order.
There is so much that has come out of the GameStop story, not mention some fantastic quotes and tweets.
“GME is not going to the Moon but to the edge of the F’ing Observable Universe.”
“Put your lift-off diapers on its about to Start.”
everybody thought we’d get less weird headlines when trump was gone but it’s day 7 and we’re at “Biden team aware of Gamestop situation”
— nuanced opinion guy (@charles_kinbote) January 27, 2021
It also brings center stage a fintech favourite and the platform of choice for many individual traders – Robinhood. The investing app that aims to democratize investment restricted trading in GameStop (and other) stocks. Users felt betrayed and accused the company of siding with the Man and supporting the status quo.
Robinhood took out a full page add in the New Yor Times to explain it’s actions and caught the attention of Senator Elizabeth Warren. It also raised an additional 3.4 billion from investors in the past week to meet the increase in required margin deposits .
Elon Musk had a chat with Vladimir Tenev (a co-founder of the trading app) about it on Clubhouse, demanding answers on behalf of users and thus rounding off our journey with a foray into new social media.
This story has a lot more to run with but let’s leave it there for now.
Internet access, now more than ever, is a basic need
Aging Connected: Closing the Connectivity Gap for Older Americans caught my eye when shared by my friend Theo Lau on Twitter. The gap between the digital haves and have nots has been amplified by the current health crisis. Digital access has become an absolutely necessity during the pandemic. Although the number of older Americans accessing services through digital channels (eg financial services) has grown significantly, serious gaps remain.
Almost 22 million American seniors do not have broadband access at home. As we know across many areas – communication, access to information, the ability to work from home, education – to name but a few, lack of access is worsening inequality and will have a lasting impact on future outcomes.
Now is the time to figure out how to deliver digital access to all.
The QR Code is Cool Again
The humble QR code has had a resurgence during the pandemic.
Though not new and exciting, it has become an increasingly popular way to pay across North America and beyond. Yes, I am thinking a lot about Fintech in North America this week as I prepare for Fintech Talents North America. Yes, that was indeed a plug.
Back to QR codes – I have to admit that I didn’t know that it stood for ‘Quick Response’ and only started using them to access menus in our increasingly ‘touch free’ world and checking in at various locations (when such things were allowed) for contact tracing purposes. Now it seems odd that I never used something that was so simple and, as the name suggests, quick.
An estimated 11 million U.S. households will scan a QR code this year.
In other areas of the world: Southeast Asia is estimated to scan 15 million QR codes in 2020; Europe 10.1 million; and India 8 million.
And finally this week, because I often wonder about all of those mostly empty buildings in the City of London:
A large cannabis factory discovered near the Bank of England
The police force said it was the first cannabis factory found in the City of London, and suggested that criminals had taken advantage of reduced footfall owing to the UK’s ongoing coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Two people have reportedly been arrested and it turns out that I was right to wonder about all of the mostly empty but, as it turns out, not completely underutilized, buildings in the square mile.
Next week, it is over to my colleague, Laura Camplisson to guide us through her week of news.