walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Transportation + Payments + the Economy = the perfect article

I have an evolving list of special interests that I pursue with intensity for a while, and then check in on once in a while thereafter. Transportation was a big one for a while -- I got real interested in rail networks, past present and future (and never happened). That's a classic on the spectrum, being interested in trains, altho more typically it manifests in an interest in the rolling stock. In typical I don't do anything right fashion, I got obsessed with the underlying graph and how it intersected with other human choices like where to live, and where to position jobs and so forth.

I was also really interested in payments systems for a while. I knew part of the path from gold to digital money, but wound up reading a whole bunch of stuff about the history of bills that was super fun for a while, then I got sort of obsessed with the chip transition, and now it, too, is back burnered.

Obvs, I love anything that involves disintermediation, disruption, and innovation changing our world and the economic dislocations that occur as a result.

So this bloomberg article is, from my perspective, one of the most perfect things I've ever read. It has all of that! (Okay, no trains, but it does have Transportation Network Companies -- different kind of network, still fascinating.)


I'd never thought hard about how Uber and Lyft drivers got paid. Apparently, it is normally weekly, but Lyft has made it possible to be paid faster (minimum chunk size $50, $.50 fee each withdrawal) and now Uber is going to also, using Green Dot, a bank I only knew about because someone screwed up and used my gmail email to sign up for their Green Dot card. Very annoying, but an interesting solution for the underbanked. No minimum, no fee as long as you use it often enough, access via a debit card or cashout at ATM for free.

Hugely popular.

A couple observations. First, this turns card payments into something so closely resembling cash payments that its hard to see how cash payments (in the folding green stuff sense) are not WORSE than this -- theft and loss risk with folding green stuff is probably worse than the inaccessibility factor of card payments. Second, this has the potential to undercut cash advance services, which can only be viewed as a good thing. I'm sure there's a negative here somewhere; I'll update if I think of it later.
Tags: transportation
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