Executive Order Heard Around the World
By Nicole Casperson
Executive Order Heard Around the World
U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday calling on the government to examine the risks and benefits of cryptocurrencies.
The order focuses on the beginnings of a framework for everything ranging from consumer protection to financial inclusion, responsible innovation, and a government-backed digital dollar.
I’ve shared takes on the potential for Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), but with the Biden Administration explicitly saying this is a priority, it’s time to spice things up again.
Why It Matters
I’ve seen some pretty strong opinions around the executive order. Like this take from Guy Gotslak, President and Co-Founder of My Digital Money, a cryptocurrency trading platform based in LA.
“The executive order is, more than anything, defensive… the EO does not direct the government to take proactive steps to nurture the growth of technology. We need to attract the best developers and innovators and create a country that will push forward this technology.”
I agree that language is important here. It’s critical for the federal agencies looking into crypto to zero in on how this technology can serve the US, instead of only thinking of ways to protect ourselves against it.
Let’s approach crypto, and any new innovation, with cautious optimism.
Plus, moving forward from mass acceptance to mass adoption is what crypto advocates want, right? It’s a huge deal for the future of financial equity, which Biden assigned homework to federal agencies to look into ways crypto will help financial inclusion. And for that reason, I’m here for this EO.
The market seemed to like this move, too. Bitcoin jumped 8%+ after the executive order was signed, but since Bitcoin is moody, it’s back down today.
Heart of the Problem
The EO did a great job addressing some needs but didn’t really get to the heart of the problem. In that light, crypto expert and Co-Founder of My Digital Money Collin Plume shared his take with me saying:
“We need to realize that the only way we can defend America from the power of crypto is to get on its side. We need policies, but we need to support and grow the technology on our side just as much.”
Fair point. We need to be thinking way more about the advancements that blockchain technology can do for communities in need of financial help.
For example, there was no mention of the Russian-Ukraine crisis that demonstrated crypto’s power to bypass regulations and institutions. People are helping other people by donating crypto.
In another example, Black Americans are more likely to own NFTs or invest in cryptocurrency, and advocates have taken steps to talk about diversity in the space as crypto grows, instead of trying to retrofit an existing industry.
My main take: This is a watershed moment for crypto. The upside to regulation is normalcy and financial equity. Imagine the day when blockchain-powered assets like crypto are a normal part of everyday life as the Internet. This executive order is our real first step to getting there.
Public, iCapital, Gridline Make Alt Moves
TL;DR: A number of fintech companies have recently made money moves to further access to alternative investments.
Accessing alts, like private equity or venture capital, hedge funds, real estate, or even art and antiques, has been a struggle for retail investors (because the exposure was coveted by institutional and high net worth investors) until technology stepped in.
A couple of things:
- Public.com acquired an alternative investing platform, Otis so users can invest with any fractionalized asset: stocks & funds; crypto & NFTs; tangible art & collectibles – all on one platform. Plus, the marketing is sick.
- iCapital announced it will acquire Stifel’s alternative investment feeder fund platform in an expansion of their existing partnership. When the transaction closes, iCapital will service more than $118 billion in platform assets and employ 770 folks.
- Gridline, a digital platform for alternative investments which launched last month just raised $9M in capital to fuel its growth.
Why It Matters
Fintechs have opened up access for retail investors with digital investing platforms that provide accredited and non-accredited investors access to investment products across a range of asset classes that were previously unattainable for the everyday investor.
Technology comes into the picture to fractionalize alternatives and make them an affordable investment.
What’s more, passion assets that are collectibles like art are often fuelled by a sincere and abiding passion for the assets themselves. Investors want to learn about and enjoy the things they invest in.
Alternative investments are a movement — one expected to grow. Research shows alternative assets under management are expected to hit $11.8 trillion this year and increase to $17.2 trillion by 2025, according to data by Preqin. I suspect this space is just getting started.
Ladies — Our Money Good
TL;DR: Digital life insurance company Bestow shared with me some new research around Gen Z and Millennial women’s financial priorities. This half of the population is typically looking to fintech apps to cater to their needs, so it’s crucial for us as an industry to understand where their money minds are at.
You’re probably tired of reading stories about demystifying women and their knowledge of money. Me too. Instead, it’s about making these stories a common part of regular news, research, storytelling, etc. We already know ladies are smart and their Money Good.
Women are a powerful force managing their money, despite systemic inequities and economic disadvantages caused by a number of crazy life events (pandemic, inflation, gender wage gap, etc, etc, etc).
According to Bestow CFO Claire Martin, women prioritize essentials like debt repayment and saving for the future, while also caring for others through charitable giving and products like life insurance.
No surprise here. My favorite example is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who has given diddly-squat to charity compared to his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott.
MacKenzie Scott has given away billions – over 16% of her wealth – in just a couple of years. Jeff Bezos has donated just over 1% of his.
In fact, 41% of women surveyed in Bestow’s study said they prioritize giving back through donations or financial support to families when they earn more money.
To keep this up, Bestow’s CFO calls on the financial services industry to “continuously invest in women through education, hiring, equal pay, and product development to ensure we’re activating and serving their increasing appetite for financial planning.”
Nearly half of women (46%) are or plan to be the breadwinner in their relationship:
- Half of the women with financial dependents reported that they are primarily responsible for managing their household finances.
- In addition to managing the household budget, 39% of women under 40 reported financially supporting a partner, children, or other family members.
Gen Z women are more likely than Millennials to prioritize debt reduction over wealth-building — but for both, purchasing a home remains at the top of the list.
- Gen Z ranked paying off student loans (43%) and consumer debt (41%) among their top three financial priorities in the next ten years. Yet despite the importance they placed on paying off debt, 56% of Gen Z also ranked purchasing a home among their top three financial priorities.
- Gen Z reported an average student loan debt of $11,372 and an average consumer debt of $8,375.
- Millennials reported more average student loan debt than Gen Z but didn’t consider paying it off as one of their top three priorities in the next ten years. They did, however, align with Gen Z in prioritizing reducing consumer debt (59%) and purchasing a home (57%) as among their top three. Millennials also considered wealth-building strategies like setting up passive income streams a top priority (35%).
- Millennials reported an average student loan debt of $14,204 and an average consumer debt of $16,041.
Be sure to check out all the facts and full study here.
- Stash hired Lynne Oldham as Chief People Officer. Oldham was formerly Chief People Officer at Zoom and will lead Stash’s plan to rapidly grow its business and hybrid culture.
- BNPL fintech in3 secures $11.1m Series A from Finch Capital
- Fintech that helps families keep track of food stamps and other gov. benefits raises $50M in series B
- Fintech lender Lendai raises $35M for AI-based platform to enable foreign investors to buy US real estate
- Investing app Acorns taps ‘choppy’ private markets at $1.9B valuation after scrapping SPAC
- Fintech Platform Cake DeFi creates $100M venture capital arm