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Welcome back to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly newsletter on startups and markets. It is inspired by what the day of the week Exchange column dig deep, but it’s free and made for your weekend reading. Do you want it in your inbox every Saturday? Register here.

Hello everyone! Disrupt was this week, which meant I spent more time than usual with my feet up, looking at panels and starting pitches. It was a lot of fun, but it also meant that I had fewer calls than I could have in a more regular week. So what follows is an abbreviated newsletter that is a more observational twist on what is reported, if you follow it. Let’s have a little fun!

Observation one: NFT speculation is a lot of fun

I recently dipped a finger into the world of NFTs. After covering the space, it was time to participate in a very minor way, as much more can be learned by doing than just reading. Of course, I try to avoid each and every possible ethical dilemma, but I don’t think the fact that I am worth double digits in crypto to be able to try and buy a low-cost JPEG will really upset the apple cart.

Everything went to hell, but an NFT sent to me by a friendly Twitter user is racking up deals. While I haven’t really liked the particular image that I now have the digital signature of on a particular blockchain any more than, say, most other images online, it’s been fun watching people try to buy it from you. .

Several offers worth hundreds of dollars have surfaced (the latest one priced at $ 382.94), making me sit back and wonder who really wants my image. I guess I’m seeing speculation about picking up value in deals, but now I have a better understanding of why NFT fans are excited about their cottage industry. After all, who doesn’t want to magically generate real-world value from an image that, until recently, would have had essentially zero value? It feels like cheating. (To be clear, I’m not selling my NFT because I don’t want to bother with taxes, and does it It seems that selling it for profit would create some kind of ethical problem. So I guess I will? Forever?)

Observation two: this is a great time for fintech IPOs

The chilling public market reception for Boston-based fintech unicorn Toast this week showed the world that it is possible to get similar valuations to software for payment income, as long as it has a fast enough growth rate. Our reading was that the warmth with which Toast was greeted in the stock market indicated that this is a great time for the fintech unicorns to get out of their collective bullshit and go public.

I stay with that. But what I might have missed was the value of sitting on the sidelines. Not in terms of valuation, we already know those numbers, but in terms of numbers of users. Notice the following tweet:

You wouldn’t have guessed that Chime was in fifth place, but those numbers simply imply huge payment streams that, as we’ve seen recently, are currently valued as rivers of gold. So NuBank, Chime, Dave, and others, are we going to do this? Please?

Observation three: Chinese technology is getting more and more toxic

News broke this week that the Zoom-Five9 deal could be related to regulatory issues due to the acquiring company’s Chinese roots. If Zoom has R&D operations in China it means that its mega-purchase of Five9 fails, it would be an indicator of not only a growing distance between the two leading global economies, but also a moment of closing doors on a possible source. technological liquidity.

Also this week, Lithuania warned that the hardware of Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi is capable of detecting and blocking certain terms that the Chinese government likes to censor. Now maybe this is how Xiaomi makes all its phones, but it is not a great Sight. The country has “told its officials to get rid of its Chinese-made smartphones after experts found they contained automatic censorship software and other security flaws,” The Times reported.

Again, toxic.


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