Weekly Reads - November 28, 2022
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Cyber Monday has officially passed Black Friday as the most important shopping day of the year racking up an expected $11.2 to $11.6 billion in sales vs $9.5 billion for Black Friday. As shopping behaviors change so has shoppers’ choice of payment options. According to Salesforce spending data, Apple Pay adoption growth was a whopping 52% YoY in November outperforming classic payment options such as PayPal, credit card, and gift cards. This data set only includes sales ran through Salesforce, but it gives a glimpse into the growing market share of Apple Pay. Apple Pay which launched in 2014 has historically been seen as a secondary payment alternative to credit cards and other payment services such as PayPal. In recent years, Apple Pay has been aggressive in adding new services like buy-now-pay-later and contactless payments which has put the service on even ground with other payment options. As Apple continues its foray into financial services, Apple Pay is an indicator that Apple may play a much larger part in the financial ecosystem than expected.
The American healthcare system is suffering through a labor crisis that could lead to future ramifications for patients and hospitals. Surveys of more than 20,000 U.S based physicians showed burnout rates at 49% over the last three years. With a projected shortage of 144,000 physicians and three million healthcare workers by 2033 alongside rising burnout levels the American healthcare system is in serious trouble in meeting future healthcare demands. The COVID crisis has been the primary driver for increases in burnout with burnout levels increasing from 45% in 2019 to 60% by the end of 2021. During COVID, healthcare workers got burdened with extra administrative work, were forced to ration product and lacked the ability to adjust their work schedule leading many professionals to exit the field. There is a clear and obvious trend of healthcare workers feeling undervalued, under paid, and overworked while demand for healthcare services continues to rise. The Department of Health and Human Services have responded to this trend by allocating $103 million to 45 grantees to help retain healthcare workers and reduce burnout in the field. While these funds are a great start this is a systematic issue that has been highlighted by COVID and will require significantly more resources to completely remedy.
The collapse of FTX has claimed a new victim, BlockFi, a cryptocurrency lender who filed for bankruptcy Monday morning. Before its bankruptcy BlockFi offered its 450,000 user base loans in minutes backed by cryptocurrency alongside accounts that paid users interest on crypto deposits. BlockFi joins competitors Celsius Network and Voyager Digital as failed crypto lenders who struggled to survive after many high-profiled cryptocurrencies crashed. BlockFi has been at the brink of collapse since June when the company was forced to strike a deal with FTX who provided the company with a $400 million credit line. This agreement which was seen as a safety net for BlockFi included an option for FTX to buy BlockFi. This agreement fell apart once FTX filed for bankruptcy earlier this month. Recent bankruptcy filings show that BlockFi has around $257 million in cash on hand and 100,000 creditors with $10 billion in assets and liabilities on their balance sheet. The company is looking to reduce expenses and focus on recovering all obligations owed to the company by FTX. With a bleak future ahead BlockFi is the latest example in crypto of how an unsustainable business can be propped up by market mania for only so long.