We had the pleasure of speaking with Marc Rubinstein, author of Net Interest, a financial sector newsletter, about his essay, Facebook’s Big Diem.

Marc writes:

In case you didn’t hear, this week the price of Bitcoin went through $50,000.

It’s been on quite a journey since breaking out of a white paper in 2008. At the beginning it was touted as a currency, a new medium for facilitating commerce. “Electronic cash,” Satoshi said. People still talk about that time Laszlo Hanyecz bought two Papa John’s pizzas for 10,000 bitcoin – “like maybe two large ones so I have some left over for the next day.” (Ouch.)

In the early days, the goal of pioneers in the space was to get Bitcoin accepted by merchants as a medium of payment. Soon after its launch as a Bitcoin wallet, Coinbase began signing them up. By October 2014 it had ten $1 billion businesses plugged into its systems ready and willing to accept the new currency.

Yet as a payment device, it didn’t really take off. Transactions were slow and the price of Bitcoin was too volatile. Bitcoin morphed from a cryptocurrency to a crypto asset, reinventing itself as an alternative to gold.

Having survived its ups and downs and lived to tell the tale, its status as a commodity is likely secure. More fluid is the space it vacated in payments; that space remains a battleground. One contender there is Facebook.

Read on or listen to our conversation (recorded on February 22, 2021):

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About This Audio Series:

MOI Global is delighted to engage in illuminating conversations on the financial sector with Marc Rubinstein, whose Net Interest newsletter we have found to be truly exceptional. Our goal is to bring you Marc’s insights into financial services businesses and trends on a regular basis, with Marc’s weekly essays serving as inspiration for our discussions.

About Marc Rubinstein:

Marc is a fellow MOI Global member, managing partner of Fordington Advisors, and author of Net Interest. He is a former analyst and hedge fund manager, most recently at Lansdowne Partners, with more than 25 years of experience in the financial sector. Marc is based in London.

About Net Interest:

Net Interest, authored by Marc Rubinstein, is a newsletter of insight and analysis from the world of finance. Enjoyed by the most senior executives and smartest investors in the industry, it casts light on this important sector in an easy-to-read style. Each post explores a theme trending in the sector. Between fintech, economics and investment cycles—there’s always something to talk about!

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