i’ll venmo you

a money special

You are cordially invited to this week’s brew of High Tea, your dispatch of 🔥internet culture served piping hot. This week: a guide to Venmo etiquette, why Zs love crypto and FACEBOOK goes undercover. 

Drink up. 🐸☕️

what we’ve been sipping on

From botany to Bitcoin, bubbles (of the economic variety, of course) are buoyed as fast as they are burst. 382 years ago, to be precise, a ferocious bidding war was underway - in the smoky backroom of a Dutch tavern - for a single bulb of “the most beautiful tulip in the world”. Yours for just $150,000.

This tulip trading war was the world’s first futures market...and the ultimate 17th century money move.  

Us ‘94 babies were born into a boom of our very own, fittingly, it lived on the internet - with the advent of the dot-com bubble. But what goes up must come down. Gen Zs and their trailing 90s predecessors, raised by recession, know this only too well (2008 global financial crash, anyone?). Zs will also remember the Great crypto crash of 2018 - not quite the Great Depression - but certainly a rival to Amazon’s fall from grace at the turn of the millennium. 

Why did the crash happen? Some say it was because many bitcoin investors wanted to sell off before college...after all, 83% of Gen Zers are interested in cryptocurrencies (hedging against a recession? We don’t know her!). Look no further than 20-year-old Erik Finman, who invested $1,000 in Bitcoin 8 years ago and has just launched a competitor to FACEBOOK’s Libra. Oh, did we mention he’s worth $4.5m? Not bad for a high school dropout 👀

But it’s less about the why and more about the who. Sorry boomers: if you think crypto is a young person’s game, you’d be right. Y’all heard about our affinity for alternatives to OG financiers. Trust no bitch. Is it any surprise millennials and Zs have gravitated towards currencies that uses blockchain? Decentralized, distributed and oftentimes public - sign us up a$ap. Even more fascinating - while most people associate crypto with money (pure and simple), Zs associate it with globalization (67%) and peer-to-peer interactions (44.2%). Maybe that explains why UNICEF has launched their own crypto fund, using currencies to finance open source technologies that benefit young people around the world. Dare we say the future is ours for the taking? 💸

Okay real talk. Rose tinted glasses off for a hot sec. We *know* digital currencies are volatile - they’re products of the environments that create and shape all 2,957 of them. But for digital natives like us, these decentralized currencies feel like a natural graduation when it comes to making trustworthy and transparent shmoney moves. As Bloomberg says: What matters is how people use crypto and how that changes their lives.

Maybe it’s time to wake up and smell the tulips. 🌷

credit check my venmo feed 🙏🏻

We’ll admit it, high street banks just don’t do it for us rn. In our lifetimes we’ve witnessed: HSBC laundering $$$ and fuelling drug cartels, the collapse of Northern Rock, and three banks going bust in the US in the last month alone…It’s no wonder that millennials like us seek financial stability and ease of sharing elsewhere. 

ICYMI: Venmo, A Brief History 

Venmo hasn’t exactly crept up on us -  launching in 2009 - but the establishment of its own social transaction subculture is the gift that keeps on giving. Bought by Paypal in 2013, Venmo allows users to send or request $ from phone contacts. Sounds like any other P2P payment app, right? Wrong. Venmo has a trick up its sleeve which sets it apart 1) it’s inherently social and 2) transactions are public-facing by default, meaning usernames and descripts are visible to anyone (even if they haven’t signed up). 👀

Although many have suggested that Venmo’s public feed is bait for data-scraping, this hasn’t stopped its millions of users from keeping their “money conversations” visible for the world to see. And it is a conversation; albeit largely dominated by emojis 🍷; 🏠💸😬; 💰🍕🍕🍕; 👶🏼💸🙏🏻. But you know what they say: “a picture is worth a thousand words”. 

“I go check their feed, see if they’ve paid all their bills”

“I’m curious about what you can figure out about somebody’s life through their Venmo...and it turns out...a lot”

Venmo dared stray into territory that no other payment app has been able to navigate. It has catapulted spending into a new social behaviour by tying it directly to an experience or emotion (emojis included). FYI, in 2018, there were 3 million transactions of under $1 on Venmo; that’s a whole heap of trolling.

Now, fast forward to 2019, Venmo is changing the face of charity gift-giving, its dating etiquette is a real (done) deal, and $0.01 is still the cheapest way to get someone’s attention

However, Venmo with its 40 million+ user base, is about to go one step further by announcing its own credit card in 2020. This signifies the final nail in the coffin for the brick and mortar model; And Venmo isn’t alone. Cash App is also chomping at the bit for their piece of the millennial pie with its newest feature to drive Gen Z engagement: Cash App Investing. Forget Robin Hood, now anyone who’s anyone can dive thumbs first into investing from as little as $1.

See a pattern forming here? 🐸☕️The future of online banking = independence + transparency, yet also inclusivity + fun in equal parts.

Get ready 2020, for a new kind of money spinner.

in the tea leaves 🔮

And the Grammy goes to. Y’all already know we’re obsessed with Billie Eiish, writing about her pretty much every week since we started High Tea. Securing six Grammy nominations, Billie is the youngest person on record to secure noms in the top categories of the awards. And, like any on-brand 17-year-old, she slept through the announcement. When we say this girl could smash records in her sleep...we mean it. 

p.s. peep below for our 2020 Grammy predictions:

kettle’s on: ones to watch 

  • Hey Google. What’s going on in the world? In the age of information overload, you can now satisfy your thirst to know...just about everything...with tailored news stories from Google Assistant. If you don’t know, now you know - even if it's another personalised echo chamber feeding you exactly what you want to hear.

  • Brexit meltdown. No seriously. In the latest instalment of Brexit (aka a political satire that could have been slipped into an episode of Black Mirror), one million coins have been melted down after Boris Johnson missed the deadline. Anyone got a spare ditch that BoJo can hide in? 

  • FACEBOOK, is that you? Well, this one almost slipped through the net. Facebook (sorry, FACEBOOK) quietly launched Whale - its meme creation app - this week, though only in Canada for its beta testing. Clearly geared towards the Gen Z and the 👶Alpha market, Whale is the latest release from their NPE team - aka the team tasked with building experimental social apps. Watch this space. 

  • E-Girls go IRL. Charli D’Amelio has us shook. After accumulating 5 million followers on TikTok in < 3 months, Charli made history last night after she appeared on stage at a Jonas Brothers’ gig with Bebe Rexha. 

Okay, you made it. Fancy supporting this week’s dispatch?

Help us buy our morning ☕️☺️ venmo: @thehightea

ttyl, High Tea.