Last week, Elon Musk unveiled the second part of his Master Plan for Tesla (part one here). He is often considered to be a visionary due to his ability to create and execute a long-term (10 years +) vision, whether it is PayPal, SpaceX, SolarCity, or Tesla. Part two of his plan (including pickup trucks, semi-trucks, and merging Tesla with SolarCity) generated significant buzz.

I took this opportunity to ask some fintech leaders via Twitter who they felt was the current “Elon Musk” of fintech. The answers mainly centered around payments and lending startups, with a few larger institutions.

Mike Dudas (@mdudas – former PayPal, Google, Braintree/Venmo) nominated John and Patrick Collison as “geniuses with 20+ year time horizons”. The Collisons co-founded the web and mobile payments company Stripe (Musk happens to be a Seed investor). Stripe’s goal is to be the “economic infrastructure for the internet.” Mike’s suggestion was confirmed by a few other payments execs.

Dan Kimerling (@dkimerling – Head of R&D and API Banking at Silicon Valley Bank) thought Coinbase was worth watching as the future of the dollar becomes more IP-based. He also mentioned some more standard players, such as Capital One and ICE. On the lending/credit scoring side, he believes OnDeck, BondStreet, and Inventure are well positioned.

Others suggested Mike Cagney from SoFi and Max Levchin (former PayPal) from Affirm. As PayPal Mafia members (Elon, Max, Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, etc.) continue to start and fund innovative new companies, it will be interesting if any of the newer teams above are able to create the same impact.

A Miami judge ruled that Bitcoin is not really money. The original case was a money-laundering suit involving a man who sold Bitcoin to undercover cops who said they were using the Bitcoin to buy stolen credit card numbers. According to the judge, money laundering was not applicable since Bitcoin has a long way to go until it is considered “money.”

Boston-based Radius Bank has closed all but one of its branches and transitioned to a digital bank. Granted, this is easier for a small bank with less than $1 billion in assets, but they made some strategic choices that other banks should consider, including changing core providers and partnering with fintech companies to offer certain products.

Wealth Management
Wealthfront has seen another top exec leave the firm. In addition to recent departures of its COO and Directors of Marketing and Product Management, this time Elliot Schmukler has left for Instacart. Schmukler was VP of Product & Growth, and was well-known for leading massive growth at his product previous role at LinkedIn.

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