Weekend links - Jan 14th 2022

  1. Kazakhstan situation – probably overlooked for its political importance:

2. Useful reading on the concept of Buy Now Pay Later. I thought this was a swizz until now but I’m seeing the value. Buy Now Pay Later provides short term lending to customers based on specific purchases (not just specific people) which makes them much more targeted in assessing risk. Plus, the costs of the lending are (largely) paid by the merchant, not the customer:

a. Incredible blog post by Kalzumeus

b. Comparison of the three main players: Affirm, Klarna and Afterpay

c. Amazon – Affirm partnership

3. Annual report from First Republic Bank

During early days of the pandemic, filing for government loans/grants was a disaster with most banks, but First Republic was one of the few that was on top of serving customers. This bank has very basic offerings – making money primarily from lending (not fancy trading) and it’s growing at a nice clip.

4. Software salaries are insane – a survey here.

5. China is well along the way in developing a digital currency where each transaction is tracked. This obviously removes any anonymity that there is with cash. Here is some pushback from a US rep on the US doing the same thing. My sense is the nature of the US system is that it will anyway be slow to get consensus around doing a digital dollar: