The Evolution of Money - Keeping Walmart and the Megaliths at Bay
This week, the Financial Times quietly highlighted an event that may resonate in your market for years to come. Two Goldman Sachs execs are leaving the company to join a Walmart backed fintech.
This move is significant to us at DaLand because we have long talked about the evolution of money. The rise of digital currencies presents Walmart with a unique opportunity to create an ecosystem that could remove millions (or billions) of dollars out of the banking system.
While there is not a great deal of information on the fintech presently, the motivations are relatively easy to understand. The opportunity for Walmart to generate and use data, the opportunity to reduce EFT transaction fees, or the opportunity to create a digital currency skirting regulatory regimes under the guise of a rewards program are all possible.
Walmart no longer embodies the monster South Park creators hilariously parodied in 2004 when competitor Amazon’s stock averaged $43 vs. their $53. Today Amazon is worth $3131; Walmart’s $132. Lesson learned.
It is no secret that Amazon’s increase in value is directly connected to their strategy to generate and use data. We do not expect Walmart to threaten Amazon, however, its history of supplanting ‘Main Street’ businesses may tell us what we need to know about their plans for community FIs.
The Art of War warns against walking into a battle you know you’re going to lose. Walmart will not mimic the example of Sears vs Amazon. Instead, if through its fintech Walmart is able to provide communities with democratic access to financial services and cut out the middle-man (big banks and community FIs) there is an ocean of opportunity for exponential profits.
At DaLand we remain committed to the mission of credit unions and community banks. That is why we created our CODE Engine to use and extend data for the financial thriving of local communities. This technology wasn’t created to compete against Chase or Bank of America, it was created to ensure thriving local economies by keeping big tech at bay.
The article concludes with a commentary that the banks have been so distracted by the battle against big corporations like Walmart that they may have already lost the war to fintechs. The war, however, is not one of financial products and services, it’s a war for data. Community FIs must realize that they are now in the data business and therefore at war with fintechs, big banks, and megalithic corporations.
There is good news here, each of those industrites are only capable of impersonating the privileged position of trust inherent in community FIs. This means that the local institutions that are serious about controlling and extending data have the upper hand.