On September 23, 2019, a 178-year-old global brand disappeared overnight.
The government had to “rescue” 600,000 of the company’s customers. More than 22,000 employees lost their jobs. And $11 billion vaporized in the blink of an eye.
This wasn’t the collapse of a bank taking too many risks. It wasn’t even an overambitious hedge fund blowing itself up in the derivatives market.
It was a travel agency.
By all accounts, it was a conservatively run firm. After all, you have to be doing something right to survive for almost two centuries.
But when you own 5,500 high-rent physical locations, 40,000 hotel rooms, and lease or own 34 jets… how do you compete against internet-based travel agencies that require no physical locations or physical assets like airplanes?
And so, that’s how British-based Thomas Cook − the world’s oldest travel agency − found itself bankrupt in September 2019.
The company’s collapse came so fast it left 600,000 holiday travelers stranded across the globe. European governments had to scramble to bring their citizens home. It was the largest repatriation effort in British history.
Meanwhile, Thomas Cook’s No. 1 competitor, Expedia, continued to thrive. All because it could immediately offer its customers a bevy of travel options… without ever having to leave the comfort of their own homes.
How could brick-and-mortar Thomas Cook compete against that? It couldn’t.
That’s the same problem Blockbuster faced when Netflix launched its mail-order movie service in 1997 and later started streaming movies.
At the time, Blockbuster was the king of video rentals. But no matter how well-run Blockbuster was, it could never escape the punishing costs of keeping 9,000 physical locations open. The internet-based Netflix danced circles around it.
Again and again, we’ve seen technology lay waste to traditional business models… rendering them obsolete virtually overnight.
The Dinosaurs Are Going Extinct
The same phenomenon that killed Thomas Cook and Blockbuster is playing out right now in the world of banking and finance.
Massive financial incumbents are like the dominant dinosaurs who don’t realize they’re about to be wiped out by a planet-sized technological asteroid.
And that asteroid is called Decentralized Finance − or DeFi for short. Let me explain…
We’re going to transition from what I call the centralized middleman economy to the decentralized service economy. It’s a brand-new way of conducting commerce that will remake entire segments of traditional markets.
Nowhere is this disruption poised to hit with more shattering force than in the financial sector.
You see, finance companies are the ultimate middlemen.
They borrow money cheaply from one set of investors and lend it to another at a fat profit. They buy stock from one group of investors, then immediately sell it to another. All the while, they catch a middleman spread (the difference between the buy and sell prices).
It’s estimated the finance sector extracts over $9.28 trillion annually from the global economy. That’s more money than the utilities sector, communication services sector, and real estate sector combined.
All around us, we can see companies that have accrued vast wealth by using technology to put themselves in the middle of buyers and sellers.
Facebook, Google, and Amazon have used technology to become the world’s most profitable middlemen. If you want to promote digital ads to a broad audience, you have to go through Facebook or Google. And if you want to sell products online to customers worldwide, the easiest path is through Amazon.
And like Expedia and Netflix, they can execute all this without hundreds of billboard locations… physical stores… or hundreds of thousands of employees.
But so far, the wave of disruptive tech has barely made a dent in the world of traditional finance. We still use paper checks. We still have to go to a physical bank branch to open an account… or apply for a loan. And we still need an actual loan officer to read and review the application.
Imagine a world where there’s never a need for a physical bank… customer service… or staff of any kind. That’s not a wild science fiction dream anymore. It’s happening right now.
DeFi will do for finance what the internet has done for so many other businesses: replace a high-cost middleman with a low-cost one. It uses cutting-edge blockchain technology to prevent manipulation without relying on trusted third parties.
Eventually, it’ll make banking, borrowing, lending, and investing more accessible and cheaper for billions of people.
The good news is we still have a chance to get in this trend early…
2021: The Year of DeFi
Friends, 2021 will be the year the world starts to wake up to the disruptive power of decentralized finance. And that’s why I want you positioned and prepared to make a fortune off the coming DeFi boom.
Right now, DeFi protocols are already enabling the trading of billions of dollars in assets… all without any human intervention. These projects are springing up overnight and threaten to upend the business models of just about every traditional financial firm in the world.
In the future, it’s my belief every asset will be tokenized. That means stocks, bonds, titles of ownership, and music rights − everything of value − will have ownership rights secured by a blockchain. And you’ll be able to exchange that value with a click of a mouse − just like you do when you send an email.
How will traditional banks compete against a decentralized mortgage company that can underwrite and deliver a loan that is 90% cheaper and virtually instant… vs. having to wait weeks and pay thousands of dollars in loan fees?
They can’t. And that’s why I believe DeFi will be the technology that destroys many of today’s dominant financial giants.
Look, I understand…
Recognizing technological change is hard. So if you’re skeptical, I get it. It’s difficult to imagine a future so different from the present… especially when the current system appears to work so well.
After all, just 25 years ago, we didn’t think twice about going to the supermarket to buy groceries… physically mailing our bills to the utility company… heading to the video store to rent a movie… or sitting in the waiting room at our doctor’s office.
They were all accepted norms. So why change them?
We didn’t view any of those things as hardships until a better way came along and showed us how much time and money we wasted on these activities.
Today, we can order our groceries from Amazon… pay our utility bills online… stream a movie on Netflix… and discuss our health with our doctors through Zoom.
We’ll look back on today’s traditional financial system the same way we look back on our past trips to Blockbuster… as a huge waste of time and money.
The growth in this sector will be phenomenal. Think of it like getting a second shot to invest in the internet giants of today… but 20 years ago. That’s the opportunity in front of you in DeFi right now.
The life-changing profits ahead will be beyond anything you’ve ever seen before. A handful of investments in a few of DeFi’s early players could transform your financial life forever.
In the meantime, a simple way to get exposure to the DeFi trend is by owning some Ethereum (ETH). Most DeFi applications are built on the Ethereum blockchain. So ETH will see its price rocket higher as this trend takes off.
Let the Game Come to You!
Editor, Palm Beach Daily