13: Democratising data, USD fading, hyper growth
Nandan Nilekani made some revealing comments about India’s digital economy in an interview recently
He talked about an initiative called Beckn, essentially an API that will “unbundle monolithic applications”. It has the potential to unbundle e-commerce and mobility like UPI unbundled payments and offer interoperability across systems. For example, you can book an Ola and a metro ticket directly from the Beckn app (or also from the Ola app, the way it is envisaged). The idea is to have an “open loop” model rather than the US/Chinese “closed loop” models that have created monopolies and duopolies.
Similarly, Open Credit Enablement Network (OCEN) will seek to democratize user data - such that a user can use his/her own data across platforms (via an aggregator) to get better/cheaper products.
All of this sounds great for Indian consumers. I just wonder how great this is for digital companies and their investors with ambitions of creating US/China style long term monopolies/duopolies by investing heavily upfront to get users (and their data). Data is the new oil, but looks like the architects of India’s digital economy do not want any modern Rockefellers or monopolies like Standard Oil.
To be clear, I think the coming decade (or two) will be the golden years for the Indian digital economy and several great companies will emerge. But the way the India model develops could be different from US/China and their eventual unbeatable monopolies. Like Mr. Nilekani says, the “West created monopolies, we democratised data”.
The US Dollar share of global reserve currencies continues to fall
The USD is still the dominant reserve currency globally, but I wouldn’t bet against a trend like this reversing… looks structural.
This is why all those VC dollars flow into early stage tech companies. Look how fast they scale up *if* you get it right.
For those less familiar with Chinese companies, the red logo belongs to Pinduoduo (meaning “together, more savings, more fun”) and ByteDance is the owner of TikTok - both unbelievable companies by all accounts.