Cross-border payments are overdue for improvements, according to the big California venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
“Though money predates software by 50 centuries, it is still much more difficult than software to move it around the globe,” the venture capital firm said in a report released Sept. 21. The Menlo Park, California-based firm headlined the report with an article asking the provocative question, “Software Transcends Borders—Why Not Money?”
The problem has multiple root causes, according to the article. Different countries have different payment preferences, payment rails and payment regulations. The problem requires a multi-pronged solution, the firm said.
That would include creating multi-country payment rails and expanding embedded payments infrastructure to more countries. Enabling businesses to open accounts in multiple countries; letting software handle “know your customer” and “know your business” in different countries; and fighting artificial intelligence-wielding fraudsters with cross-border payment security are also necessary, the firm said.
And the venture firm has a stake in the outcome. Andreessen Horowitz’s portfolio includes U.K.-based money transfer service Wise, global mobile-payment network provider Boku and Berlin-based global payments software startup Payrails. It also includes the digital payments firm Stripe, with headquarters in the U.S. and Ireland, and Dutch buy now, pay later provider Affirm.
Andreessen Horowitz, which also goes by the name a16z, has about $35 billion under management, according to the firm's website.
The venture capital firm is the latest organization to call for improvements in moving money around the world. The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication; the international payments player ACI Worldwide; the Bank for International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund have also advocated for ways to improve cross-border payments.