The President and Co-founder of Stripe, John Collison, took to the stage at Money 20/20 Europe to comment on valuations, experiences, and crypto.
First, he reaffirmed the mission of Stripe as eliminating the barriers that block Internet businesses globally. While this particular mission began with making payments easier back in 2011, Stripe now has its targets set on assisting in fixing other upstream blockers for businesses that just want to accept payment for anything they want to sell over the internet.
Stripe’s first proposition, to support payments in minutes with just several lines of code, means that it is mostly one of the first tools that are used by new Internet businesses. First, they fix Internet payments with Stripe, then they run into the next blocker – for example, tax or cashflow – Stripe wants to use its current position to help in each of these interconnected areas.
But is cryptocurrency part of that mix, and does it eliminate or add friction? Based on the statement by Collison:
“The problem with crypto is that it is a movement as much as a technology. And that bothers crypto skeptics”.
Stripe is not evangelical about crypto, according to Collison, it is just looking to solve issues for businesses. To this point, Collison says that Stripe first offered Bitcoin payments in 2013. But, then at least, crypto was not a very good or viable form of payment. Later, Stripe decided to switch it off. There is no evangelism, only great experiences.
Recently, the developments in crypto with quicker transaction processing and the creation of stablecoins have made crypto a great payment option as well. Thus, for instance, Stripe Connect payouts that target the creator economy through content distributors like Sbstack and Twitter, and payout in USD Coin (USDC), a stablecoin that is pegged to the US dollar.
Collison was also asked the obligatory Money 20/20 2022 question about valuations. His firm last raised $600 million on a $95 billion valuation in March 2021. Like others with significant amounts of cash in the bank, he was relaxed on this topic.
Could Stripe raise again at that value?
“I don’t know, we haven’t tried. Stripe the business has grown a lot since then, but then valuations have gone down…”
He concluded with advice to fintechs:
“Don’t worry about valuations, worry about fundamentals. In a recessionary environment sell on cost savings and expect a flight to quality. But you can’t use the 2021 pitch. It needs to be a 2022 pitch.”