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Whenever someone brings up the blockchain, most people are probably clueless, while many immediately think of Bitcoin and/or other cryptocurrencies. However, various tech gurus have been talking about the potential that exists in the technology beyond cryptocurrency, which means simply buying and selling Bitcoin could be just the tip of the iceberg.
One analyst is now outlining a few more concrete suggestions of potential blockchain uses—and naming the companies that could come up with them. Now that’s a language investors understand more than vague descriptions of the technology, which typically focus on cryptocurrencies as a form of payment rather than a technology.
Bitcoin’s massive rise boosts Square stock
Bitcoin prices have soared past $13,000 and show no signs of slowing down. In fact, the cryptocurrency’s market capitalization stands at nearly $220 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. That means it’s bigger than JPMorgan Chase and almost all the companies in the S&P 500, according to data from FactSet.
Based on the seemingly endless growth in Bitcoin prices, it’s no surprise that Square stock popped when the company announced that it was rolling out Bitcoin support to more users of its Cash App. Eligible users of the app can buy and sell Bitcoin via the app, so investors naturally see dollar signs for the digital payment processor.
As it turns out, Square is one company Piper Jaffray analyst Jason Deleeuw sees as a good candidate for building one or more practical blockchain uses. It’s very unclear at this point whether Square could be working on any blockchain uses beyond just letting users buy and sell Bitcoin, but the experts say potential is there.
Blockchain uses to enhance industries
In a note to investors this week, Deleeuw outlined his ideas based on what he learned at the North America Blockchain Expo 2017. He sees a variety of potential blockchain users, including revolutions in technology that could digitize supply chains, value chains and company workflows. He also advised investors that much of this “blockchain revolution” he expects will probably take place “behind the scenes as companies implement blockchain ecosystems to enhance their businesses.”
Possible enhancements include transparency, data and cost savings. He believes blockchain technology could “drive better client-consumer outcomes,” but first, someone has to build and implement the technology.
Many supply chains to be “blockchained” eventually
The Piper Jaffray analyst expects blockchain uses to infiltrate many supply chains and value chains eventually because he sees strong business cases for their use, including better efficiencies, lower costs, and better tracking and data capture.
While those who are heavily into tech already understand the blockchain, Deleeuw explains it in a way that investors can understand it more easily. He describes it as “essentially a business IT architecture/ infrastructure project that requires collaboration amongst the players in the ecosystem.” In other words, it’s a technology infrastructure that companies can build aspects of their businesses on.
Within his coverage universe, he sees potential blockchain users to include B2B payments within supply chains, which would present opportunities for Visa, MasterCard and American Express. He also sees use cases in money transfers, which adds PayPal, Square and Euronet Worldwide. He also suggests that the mortgage origination-servicing value chain could benefit, which means that Black Knight and Corelogic could implement it, as could title insurers First American Financial and Fidelity National Financial for property records.