Has crypto entered the mainstream?

  • 2021 was a record year for crypto in more ways than one.
  • The industry attracted more investment this year than all previous years combined.

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Has crypto entered the mainstream?

Welcome back to Payments, our bi-weekly newsletter about all things payments — from blockchain to BNPL to B2B. It’s inspired by our payments coverage as well as the top stories from around the payments space. Subscribe here.

It’s been a wild year for crypto. Bloomberg reports that venture capital funds have pumped a record $30 billion into the crypto industry in 2021. That’s more money invested in a single year than all previous years combined in the roughly 13-year history of cryptocurrencies. It’s also nearly four times the previous high of around $8 billion in 2018.

This is partly due to a number of record-breaking funding rounds that have been secured by crypto firms this year, thanks to growing investor confidence. In July, crypto exchange FTX received a $900 million injection, taking its total valuation to $18 billion. And just this month, Bitcoin servicing firm NYDIG raised $1 billion in a growth equity round that values it at over $7 billion, and is being termed as the largest funding round in crypto history.

Bitcoin and Ether, the top two cryptocurrencies by market cap, both reached all-time highs in 2021. The NFT market is also expected to hit a record $17.7 billion in sales by the end of the year.

And last but not least, growing interest in the metaverse has created a new wave of investment opportunities for crypto enthusiasts, and is likely to drive further investment in the space.

All of the above begs the question: how big does the crypto industry need to become for us to concede that it has entered the mainstream? Some food for thought as we head into the new year.

Happy holidays!

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The U.S. remittance industry is getting bigger – so where are the big banks?

In 2020, the U.S. recorded 27 million foreign-born workers, who made up 17% of the total workforce. These workers remit around $165 billion overseas every year.

Yet, among the financial institutions servicing those transactions, an important group is missing: big American banks.

So who’s powering this market? Traditional remittance companies and fintechs.

U.S. banks have missed out on over $10 billion by neglecting remittance programs and allowing fintechs to scoop up this consumer segment, according to Danny Ayala.

Ayala spent 18 years in Wells Fargo’s consumer banking division, where he led the Global Remittances Services business. This year, he jumped ship into the fintech space, joining Welcome Tech as the managing director of financial services.

Tearsheet’s Subboh Jaffery spoke to Danny about how fintechs are grabbing hold of this market segment thanks to technology developments and increased demand for better services. 

Read more (Outlier member exclusive)

What we’re reading

Will ‘Chuck’ give smaller banks an edge in P2P versus Venmo, Cash App and Zelle? (The Financial Brand)

Analysts give their top predictions for crypto in 2022 (CNBC)

Checkout platform Bolt eyes $14 billion valuation (PYMNTS)

Innovation in payments creates opportunities for traditional banks (PaymentsJournal)

JPMorgan develops blockchain system for Siemens’ payments (FT)

With new $6 million carbon commit, Stripe adds new technologies to its Climate platform (Finextra)

Bottomline Technologies sold to private equity firm (NH Business Review)

Astra teams up with Cross River to intro card-to-card instant payment API (PYMNTS)

H&R Block sues over Square’s ‘Block’ rebrand (CNBC)

Papaya raises $50 million to give you a way to pay bills via its mobile app (TechCrunch)

GigLabs’ app enables Shopify merchants to mint and sell NFTs (Business Wire)

Equifax unveils new product to streamline B2B transactions (Finledger)

Nike acquires NFT collectibles studio RTFKT (TechCrunch)

Global fintech players Stripe and Nium target travel payments for growth (Skift)

Crypto payments are coming to WhatsApp (CoinDesk)

Resolve raises $25 million amid growing demand for B2B BNPL (PYMNTS)
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