Welcome to What's Trending In Payments - a weekly look at the most popular, irreverent and important stories the payments industry had to offer over the past five days. Which companies grabbed the most headlines - for better or for worse - this week, and which topics have the industry abuzz with intrigue, laughter or disbelief?
Featuring breakdowns from the PYMNTS.com staff and commentary by Karen Webster and the PYMNTS.com team, here’s our take on what all of you payments peeps thought.
Why It’s Hot: No one really knows why it should be hot, but it is hot because investors sunk a $25 million seed round investment into Clinkle - the largest allegedly in Silicon Valley history. The leaked video doesn’t tell us any more than it is a way to use mobile phones to send money between people.
Karen’s Commentary: Boy, that space is getting crowded so it better be able to be amazingly good at something no one else does. But with the name Clinkle, it just might be a new cereal or a really great laundry detergent. Well, at least they passed on Twinkle.
PYMNTS: Well, the last time we had this much suspense was over the secret invention that was going to transform human transportation as we know it - the Segway (you know, those ridiculous scooters that tourist ride around town on) and Elon Musk’s HyperLoop, transportation of a different kind. Crazy, but at least they had better names.
Why It’s Hot: We missed a news cycle on this one since the Bitcoin market was up again. But, it was hot yesterday because the popular virtual currency, invented by “anonymous” and minted by people who have to solve complex algorithms to get some gold, took a nosedive after the FBI busted the operator of Silk Road (Ross Ulbricht, aka Dread Pirate Roberts). For those of you who haven’t heard about the Dark Web yet, that’s the place on the web, accessed through untraceable browsing, where you can buy illegal drugs. So, with Silk Road down that’s one big market where people can’t spend their bitcoins anymore. But, the price went up today so maybe people figure there will still be lots of places to use their bitcoins.
Karen’s Commentary: Oh boy, am I embarrassed. I thought if I stocked up on some bitcoins I could get some discounted Hermes scarves on Silk Road. Why else would they have named it that?
PYMNTS.com: Hey, barriers to entry on the web - and even the Dark Web - are very low. But, if we wanted to run an illegal web site (we don’t, just saying) we probably wouldn’t do it from San Francisco, which is where Dread Pirate Roberts met his fate. Doesn’t he watch TV? These guys are never in big cities. Where there’s a market, there’s an entrepreneur, so we’re pretty sure another Silk Road will emerge. So, all you junkies, hold onto your bitcoins for now.
Study: Millennials Would Rather Have A Phone Than Shelter
Why It’s Hot: Because anything about the weird behavior of Millennials is interesting to people over the age of 31. And because it says people really love their mobile phones, which as we all know is the future of payments (Someday, probably not soon).
Karen’s Commentary: Well, why is anyone really surprised? With the mobile phone, a bed and a pillow is only an app or two away. You can call up a TaskRabbit to find a short list of lodgings or search AirBnB for a room in which to crash for the night, and then use Uber to take you there - and even use PayPal to pay for it all. No house, no sweat. No phone, no life.
PYMNTS: Yeah, the mobile phone of course because we can always sleep at the office or move in with Mom and Dad.