Financial innovation waits for no one

We didn’t get a chance to put a linkfest today but one post we did read really stood out. While the debate about crowdfunding continues Om Malik has a great up at GigaOM that puts the rise of new funding platforms like AngelList into perspective. Malik points out that AngelList is yet another financial innovation that will before seem decidedly mainstream. Malik talks about how day traders of the 1990s changed the way we trade. He writes:

Some innovation makes some financial product or technique less costly, and it, in turn, becomes more widely available. People race to try it, hoping to earn higher returns, and that works; for a while, anyway. Inevitably, however, the innovation attracts too many newcomers that those returns collapse, leaving huge losses, but also leaving the innovation behind for the future to benefit from.

Now it is angel investing that is getting the treatment. Malik writes:

Once again, financial innovation has cut costs and driven wider participation in a previously closed and clubby market. We have seen it over and over, from derivatives to mortgage-backed securities, and it is playing out again in angel investing.

That doesn’t mean there is easy money to be made in angel investing, Day trading wasn’t easy money eithers. However with the JOBS Act and changing technology we now have a whole new way in which investors can put money to work. Some, like Felix Salmon, argue that this will end badly for many, which may very well be true. But along the way how we invest will change forever.

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