Fintech & Crypto Partnership Might Be Hard To Come By; Thoughts On Drake, 21 Savage, & SF
By Ian Kar
Hey hey what’s good everyone—this newsletter’s a bit all over the place but hope you enjoy.
It’s been a busy few weeks for me. Last week, Stevie and I went to Menlo Park for a bunch of LP meetings, which went really really well (especially considering the fucked up economic climate we’re in right now.) We’re in a lucky position—we have a bunch of LP’s that are eager to see us get our fund off the ground and our competitive advantage around building regulatory and compliance for preseed companies only compounds during times like these.
We also went to Napa, which was so dope. It was my first time being there as an adult and…its incredible? I don’t really drink anymore so didn’t do much of that, but we went to a bunch of amazing restaurants (it seems like most of them were by Thomas Keller). We also drove around all the way up to Calistoga and saw the awful fire damage that was caused by the Tubbs Fires in October 2017.
The more time I spend in SF the more I like it. Before meeting Stevie I never spent much time in the Bay—I had a bunch of job interviews and would always end up staying at hotels in the Tenderloin area, which is…not great…but also not representative of SF at all. I know I have made a lot of fun of SF in the past but it’s actually better than I have previously given it credit for. I still need more SF friends for when I’m in town, so if you’re around please let me know!
I have a lot of thoughts on the newest Drake and 21 Savage album, Her Loss. From one perspective, the album is a banger—sonically the production is great. From a lyrics perspective it’s pretty weak—I like Drake and 21 Savage both, but I do think Drake dumbs down his content when he makes music to the lowest common denominator—talking about women, money, and how he has beefs with everyone. I don’t expect a lot of high quality lyrics from a Drake and 21 collab, but even Drake and Future’s masterpiece, What A Time To Be Alive, had “30 for 30 Freestyle” on it. My friend Jessica on Twitter made a great point that there was way more misogyny on the album than expected—the Megan the Stallion line that caused a lot of controversy on the interwebs was just scratching the surface.
Being a rap fan means being a walking hypocrite at times. Lyrics are sometimes so bad that it makes the song unlistenable. This has been on my mind way more with the recent Kanye controversy (long story short: he hates Jews.) I grew up in a predominately Jewish town and have a ton of Jewish friends; it’s incredibly upsetting to me to see him pretty much reignite anti-semitism across the US, and also have absolutely 0 remorse for his actions. Sure he can blame his mental health problems all he wants but after a certain point, you need to be able to take some responsibly (especially if you actively don’t take meds you’re subscribed to take.)
Crypto and fintech are becoming increasingly tied together—especially the fintech companies that work closely with fintech infrastructure companies to get their financial products off the ground.
Building financial products is hard, especially for crypto companies, that are trying to avoid getting super regulated. Most use partners to get products to market—Blockfi’s a great example. Blockfi’s credit card is powered by Deserve and KYC was done through Alloy. Plaid does a lot wit crypto companies too—its mainly been around account funding, but they recently announced a new product to help companies connect to Wallets, called Wallet Onboard, which allows devs to connect into 300+ Ethereal wallets.
Some partnerships are much more critical—Sardine works with crypto companies to around account funding and I don’t see that letting up any time soon. Every crypto company needs to get money into their platform, and using a product like Sardine is a critical step.
Now this doesn’t mean fintech companies will be in dire financial straits or anything close to that—most fintech infra companies that partner with crypto companies are market leaders (like Alloy) that have diversified revenue from fintech and crypto firms. But it does mean, to me at least, that the growth these infra companies have seen from crypto companies will be harder to come by.
In the long run, the more regulated crypto become the better it will be for fintech infra companies. Crypto companies will always look to oursource a lot of these key layers necessary to get financial products off the ground. So while I’m longterm bullish on these partnership, we may see some apprehension in the near term. Crypto companies will probably pause building out and rolling out financial products like a debit card or credit card as they wait for the ecosystem to settle. But, in the long run, the convergence between fintech and crypto is pretty inevitable.