Tommy Nicholas

Tommy Nicholas

Co-founder @

Recent posts by Tommy Nicholas

2 min read


By Tommy Nicholas on Sep 16, 2020 7:58:00 AM

Big news today from the Alloy team - we're thrilled to announce that we have raised $40 million in Series B funding! 

1 min read

Immigration Status

By Tommy Nicholas on Mar 18, 2019 11:45:00 AM

Alloy is making an important update to our Terms Of Service: financial institutions may not use Alloy’s product to deny a customer access to a financial services product because of their immigration or citizenship status alone.

Topics: Fintech
14 min read

Fintech Needs Business Model Innovation

By Tommy Nicholas on Feb 18, 2017 11:45:00 AM

I love fintech, but fintech got problems. Financial technology has plenty of hype, with many going as far as to say banks are going to have an "Uber Moment" where they are fully disrupted by technology driven companies. This sounds great, but there's an obvious problem: nobody is actually allowed to compete with banks. There are over 6,000 FDIC insured banks in the US, but only 3 new charters have been issued since 2010. The option to compete with banks directly has been removed by the federal government, and with it the opportunity to build a "Full Stack Startup" like Uber.

But it gets worse!

Topics: Fintech Banking
7 min read

Odd bedfellows: what a Bitcoin company can learn from the strange history of VISA

By Tommy Nicholas on Dec 23, 2016 11:45:00 AM

When the founder of VISA Dee Hock joined the advisory board of Bitcoin startup Xapo, it seemed pretty strange to me. After all, Bitcoin’s very existence appears to be a reaction to VISA’s shortcomings. VISA represents everything bitcoin fans hate: fees, centralization, archaic design, and more. The VISA network, it seems, is designed to make the banks more money by charging high fees to businesses that have little choice but to accept them. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is designed to empower people to use their money with no intermediary, no fees, and no central authority to get in the way. So what could the founder of VISA want with Bitcoin, and more importantly, what could Bitcoin want with him? It turns out the story of Dee Hock and VISA is more complicated (not to mention stranger) than the dominant narrative today would suggest. In fact, VISA is arguably the best example in the history of business in utilizing Bitcoin’s most vital characteristic: decentralization.
Topics: Fintech Bitcoin Payments
4 min read

What’s stopping users from loving fintech?

By Tommy Nicholas on Dec 23, 2016 11:45:00 AM

Average people do not love fintech. In fact, in many cases they hate it. I’ve seen this first hand since I took the (currently on pause) dive into fintech a little over two years ago, but two posts  by Pascal Bouvier of Route 66 Ventures got me thinking about how deep this problem really is. Pascal’s example of the relative lack of progress in modernizing remittances (sending money home from, for example, the US to Mexico) is a great one: remittances SHOULD be done electronically, they ARE incredibly horrible/expensive/broken, there are MANY players trying to disrupt the market; yet, the incumbent (Western Union) is still cleaning up. Why? Because nobody is winning their users’ hearts. Nobody loves their bank, but nobody LOVES fintech startups either.

Topics: Fintech Banking