Whine and Dime #0016

Whine

Dodgy private equity deals (such as the Dick Smith shenanigans mentioned below) turn my stomach. Combine that with the ATO's recent 'Corporate tax transparency list' and a picture emerges of a sustained corporate rip off of the tax system. There's no doubt that the majority of this tax activity is legal, which is of course part of the problem. It's also intentionally inscrutable and questionably ethical. Why are we not asking serious questions about companies earning billions of dollars of revenue paying dividends to shareholders, but not paying a single cent in tax? And then there's the subsidies. To what end? Cui bono?

Shine

Getting milk delivered to your door in glass bottles here in the UK is a real treat. As I recall, this disappeared from Australia in the late 70s / early 80s.

Industry News

If you didn't read this rebuttal to Paul Graham's Economic Inequality essay last week, then read it now: Paul Graham is Still Asking to be Eaten. Then go and follow @girlziplocked on Twitter. Like all deep, complex arguments, it's difficult to agree with everything she says, but that post sure does make you think.

This article has to be read to be believed: Dick Smith is the Greatest Private Equity Heist of All Time. It's all legal, of course, but with bullshit financial engineering like this going on, we have the ATO chasing Mum and Dad businesses for small thousands of dollars of GST. What a scam.

This guy apparently has 1,497 credit cards. What's stopping him getting another 3 to make it 1,500?

Continuing the trend of payments startups targeting business-to-business payments, Singapore-based startup Xfers has landed $2.5M funding to simplify transfers for online sellers. Xfers spin on payments is to facilitate 'pay-anyone' style payments from online banking accounts.

Slock.it is another blockchain startup that allows you to 'rent, sell or share anything, without middlemen'. Watching their vids and reading their material I find myself torn between on one hand thinking this is profound, and on the other just being somewhat confused about the primary use case. Remember, 2016 is the year of blockchain.

BBVA is offering some thoughts on what it thinks will be five fintech trends for 2016. Blockchain, fintech growth, alternative lenders, millennials, disruption. Check.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies more generally can seem impenetrable for non-mathematicians. So, if you're interested in how the Bitcoin protocol actually works, then this post is for you. Great detail, well written.

Interested in the strategic implications of blockchain technology? This might help.

Continuing the theme of exposition: we use credit cards every day, but do we really appreciate the full costs, or even how they work? How Credit Cards Tax America provides an insight into the complexity behind the seemingly simple act of swiping a credit card.

Stripe will now accept ACH payments. Payments cost 0.80% capped at $5.00. Not sure if this will increase or decrease the longevity of ACH payments in the US.

Blog Posts

  • The end of the taxi era - no one should mourn the death of slow, ageing, monopolies with atrocious service. But we should also be careful what we wish for. Do we really want to turn the entire economy into a piece-work machine?

Worth Following

  • Bristlemouth - a value investing blog
  • @girlziplocked - taking on the received wisdom of the VC class with some really interesting, robust polemics

Nerding Out

Credits