For the past week or so, the spotlight has squarely been on two large consumer-focused financial technology or FinTech firms. Robinhood Markets, which pioneered commission-free trading of stocks, options, cryptocurrencies and fractional shares, listed its shares on Nasdaq, raising US$2 billion ($2.7 billion). The listing was a disaster as investment banks failed to keep the stock from falling well below the IPO price. In the four trading days since, Robinhood stock has more than doubled.

Days after Robinhood’s IPO, US payments giant Square, which operates the ubiquitous Cash App, made its biggest acquisition ever buying Australian-listed “Buy Now Pay Later” (BNPL) firm Afterpay for a whopping US$29 billion in an all-stock transaction. Even for the overhyped FinTech space, that’s a hefty price tag. Square is paying 25 times Afterpay’s estimated sales for the current fiscal year ending next June — a multiple until recently reserved for a handful for ultra-high-growth software firms.  

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