So far, the year 2022 has certainly looked like a deflating technology bubble. After a decade of rising market caps, stocks for formerly hot “tech” companies fell far below their recent highs. By September 2022, exercise equipment maker Peloton was down 90 percent from a year before; ridesharing company Lyft had fallen 70 percent; videoconferencing firm Zoom, 70 percent; electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian, 60 percent; Meta (or Facebook), 60 percent; Netflix, 60 percent; the gory list goes on. Many recent new technologies have simply failed to meet expectations.
African tech innovators at the recent Africa Money & Defi Summit in Accra, Ghana proved that they are at the forefront of change on the continent, from fintech to agritech.
"Africa has the ability to leapfrog into decentralized finance (Defi) and smooth over the difficulties of cross-border finance through blockchain and web3," said participant PayBox co-founder David Boye-Doku.
One of the biggest news stories last week was that Plaid laid off 260 employees, or about 20% of its workforce. This may have come as a surprise to many, but not to all of us.
Rumblings about Plaid laying off some 200 people started as far back as late May. At that time, when asked, the company denied it was letting go of any workers. But as the year wore on, and the macro-environment grew more challenging, it felt like it was inevitable that Plaid — which was valued at $13.4 billion last year — would join the long list of fintech giants letting go of workers.
Until it collapsed this month, FTX was becoming a force for normalizing cryptocurrencies in Africa, through marketing campaigns that enlisted entertainers, and investments in startups like Chipper Cash. Now that it has left a trail of losses for companies and individuals, Africa’s financial regulators will sense an opportunity to place stricter constraints on crypto’s adoption.
Fintech has become one of the most popular topics among policymakers and experts. It usually comes with the qualifier “disruptive”. Thus, the hype is easy to understand: fintech would upend the financial system due to its disruptive nature, as it would allow financial services to be completed faster, cheaper, and more efficiently.