You know this market's gaga for anything fintech. It's a believer in any sort of payment processor, even if it isn't making any money.
Take Venmo, the cash payment arm of Paypal (PYPL) . When it started out, Venmo was free. Now Paypal has shrewdly added some fees for users, nothing big, but as Venmo gathers steam, Paypal's actually riding its coattails to the next level of growth. Venmo's a disrupter for certain.
Now there's this new fintech company. It moves money all over the world, and it does so securely using blockchain, which has long intrigued fintech enthusiasts with its seamless, frictionless form of transfer. It's reminiscent of bitcoin, meaning it's basically its own global currency, but it's not secretive and is a definitive source of value not susceptible to crazy, unfathomable swings.
Therefore, it has all of the good of these technologies with none of the bad, and its got global, not domestic ambitions.
In other words: It seems to have every aspect of what it would take to get the unbanked a bank, with just a simple cellphone. It might be the answer to hardworking people losing their life savings to a ludicrous government bent on papering over its problems, like that of Venezuela.
Would you want that stock? Would there be a price you wouldn't pay for it in this market?
Ah, but what if it is attached to a company with a squirrelly reputation, one that merits scrutiny of the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal every day?
It's just along for the fintech ride.
And that, my friends, is the story of Libra, the made up currency cordoned from the rest of Facebook (FB) , and backed by a consortium of 27 other partners. I think this has changed the narrative of this ne'er-do-well company, perhaps for good.
Sure, there were some lawmakers hellbent on investigating Facebook for its potentially nefarious plan to take Libra to its 2.7 billion users. But there's an issue here for Congress. We only have 327 million people who might not be able to avail themselves of the one-world currency with no fees and no strings. Our Congress can't block the 2.45 billion others all with cellphones that can be turned into banks, which then can be used to loan and empower the impoverished.
Now, unfortunately, Libra is attached to this rogue institution via its messaging platforms. Even worse, Facebook has this incredibly profitable thing called Instagram, with its amazingly popular stories section, something that could be used to interfere with the 2020 election or, even worse, guide you to a deliberately un-intrusive ad for Oil of Olay or Bottega Veneta, or, worst of all, the Gap! Egads.
Oh, and let's not forget that even though the currency is totally private and not tampered with by the gremlins at Facebook, the company did sell your names to people, especially the names of people who expected a penumbra of privacy, even as they were hoping to be seen by as many people as possible.
You may think this is all facetious. But ever since Facebook rolled out the concept of Libra in a really boring white paper, it's become the up big cap stock in this market. On good days it soars. On bad days it's unchanged.
Welcome to the world of fintech, Facebook. Looks like we hardly knew ya.
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