In two of my previous articles, “The Top Ten Fintech Predictions for 2018” and “Top The Fintech Predictions for 2017”, I predicted a few things to come including The End of Privacy, Vertical Integration and What’s Your Advantage where I visualized Facebook, Snapchat, Tesla, Uber, Faraday Future, WeWork, AirBnB, Monster.com and LinkedIn, would get into the banking and finance business with their massive amount of consumer behavioral data.
Boy, did I miss the one big kahuna, Tinder.
I kid of course, let’s see what Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has been up to lately.
May, 2018 – Amazon Pay – Who moved PayPal and Square’s cheese? Amazon did.
Amazon has been working on their payment network for sometimes now, but it has just begun to offer discounts to their merchants. As soon as the announcement came out PayPal and Square’s stock dropped or flattened. Visa and MasterCards also got caught in the crosshairs. Amazon Pay is poised to dominate the payments markets where PayPal, Square and Stripes of the world have been dominating for decades. – “Amazon Offers Retailers Discounts to Adopt Payment System” – Bloomberg.
March, 2018 – Amazon Checking Account – Amazon in discussions with JPMorgan Chase and Capital One to offer Amazon Checking-Account. – “Amazon Checking-Account Plan Sees Banks as Partner, Not Prey” – Bloomberg.
March, 2018 – Amazon Mortgage – Amazon is making it’s first inroad into personal finance with Amazon Mortgage. They started by build mortgage bench strength. HousingWire back in March 2018 got insider information about Amazon’s hiring spree into the mortgage banking space. However, due to their Non-disclosure agreement, they can’t disclose who Amazon just hired to head up their mortgage division. – “Amazon hiring head of newly-formed mortgage lending division” – HousingWire.
Feb, 2018 – Amazon Lending – We have known this for sometime now, Amazon Lending started back in 2011 has made over 3 billion worth of loans to small businesses that sells goods on their platform. An invitation only program, Amazon lends anywhere from $1,000 to $750,000. Terms are favorable to credit cards and the fees a deducted from the merchant’s seller accounts at Amazon. Of course amazon uses sellers inventory, product mix and revenue data to underwrite but now with the help of Bank of America, Amazon is ready to restart their SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) lending in a big way again. This is a direct threat to OnDeck, recently teamed up with JPMorgan Chase and Kabbage, which might need to re-stack their chips and integrate more with Ebay and Paypal. – “Amazon has partnered with Bank of America for its lending program: Sources” –
June, 2017 – Amazon Whole Foods / Go – Perhaps the biggest news came out of Amazon lately was it’s acquisition of Whole Foods and launch of their Amazon Go stores. They are making retail cool again. I haven’t been to a Go store just yet but when you walk into a Whole Foods store, you are greeted with Amazon lockers. You can pick up your orders online at while picking up a bottle of nice Pinot Noir for the night. What a powerful combination. Kinda creepy really. – “Amazon is buying Whole Foods Market for $13.7B—threatening to disrupt three more industries” – Quartz
If anyone reading this article hasn’t gotten goosebumps, check this this latest venture Amazon’s getting into…
May, 2018 – Amazon is now in discussion with Dish Networks. “For what?” You say? Dish Networks actually owns a bunch of unused wireless spectrum licenses that if they don’t develop, they might lose them. Dish Network, in a desperate move, has begun the development of the wireless spectrum, however, it neither has the will nor the capital to get into the wireless space when T-Mobile and Sprint merger just took place. Amazon Wireless is coming and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Amazon has everything covered but is it a good for us?
And, of course, there’s Amazon Cloud, Amazon Echo, Audible.com, Amazon Wardrobe, Amazon Key, and now Amazon wants to deliver packages inside of the Trunk of your car. You want to fly into space? Jeff Bezos has that covered too with Blue Origin. If Elon Musk is your ultimate creepypasta with his flame throwers, underground drills and pop rockets, you better wake up and check what uncle Bezos is really up to.
Researching this article made my head spin and it scared me a little. The obsession of Amazon and Jeff Bezos trying to get inside of our diet, home, cars, how we spend our money, insurance, and our relationships, creates a giant red flag. No company on this planet has the amount of data Jeff does and when they know everything about you at any given time, Amazon will be omnipresent and it should scare you as well. Amazon has been around for 25 years and most of us reading this article grew up with Amazon. This company remembers what you did, your favorite color, book, musicians, photos, food and your possessions, operative word, “remembers”.
Let’s not paint Amazon as an evil empire just yet, but then again, not too long ago, Mark Zuckerberg was a second coming, of sorts, so much that we gave our trust to him. But Facebook used that information to influence the way we think, love, vote and ultimately our destiny.
Can we really trust one company with this much information at hand that could easily sway not just our government but other governments around the world?
[clickToTweet tweet=”Can we really trust one company with this much information at hand that could easily sway not just our government but other governments around the world?” quote=”Can we really trust one company with this much information at hand that could easily sway not just our government but other governments around the world?”]
While Amazon may have missed out in the purchase of Flipkart, Amazon just extended it’s investment into India’s Capital Float – India’s largest online lender.
“1984” was based on the novel “1984” by George Orwell, a notable English author fight the Fascists first hand in the Spanish Civil War. It’s a novel about control, survival in a totalitarian future society. Some of the imagery was later used, interesting enough, in Apple’s famous TV commercial, think “Sledgehammer destroying a giant tv screen”. If you clicked on the 1984 url, you’ve stumbled up IMDB, “Internet Movie Database”, I spent a ton of time there and… oh yeah, Amazon owns IMDB.
Amazon, stop being everything to everyone!
Jeff, remember, Fire Phone? You wrote off over $140mm from a giant commercial failure. If you are trying to do too much, your services will suffer, your core competencies will erode and eventually the empire’s arrogance will be the downfall of Amazon. You will eventually have a revolt on your platform where you attempt to control every aspect of our lives. We won’t let that happen. The free market economy will give rise to new players and challengers. There is a paradigm shift in every generation. Jacking up our prime membership from $99 to $119 might be acceptable for now… but just for now.
Until then, thanks for delivering my digital copy of Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time”, wait, that was iTunes Bookstore. That’s another ecosystem trap for another write up.
Timothy Li is a Senior Contributor for Crowdfund Insider. Timothy is the CEO of Kuber and MaxDecisions and has over 14 years of Fintech industry experience. He’s passionate about changing the finance and banking landscape. Kuber launched Fluid, a credit building product designed for college students to borrow up to $500 interest free. Kuber’s 2nd product Mobilend is a true debt consolidation product, aiming to lower debt for all Americans. Li also the co-founder and President of P2P Protect, an Insurtech platform that offers P2P insurance products. Li sits on multiple advisory boards including Rocketloans.