The Evolution of Payment Systems with Henrique Dubugras of Brex

The private sector has been responsible for major innovation in the payments space in the past. Many central banks have long been charged with facilitating – and especially securing – the operation of payment systems. It is now critical that all stakeholders keep a constructive dialogue going in order to realize a new global infrastructure for business finance and other new use cases such as crypto gaming and NFTs.

Joining us this week to explore this topic is Henrique Dubugras, Founder and Co-CEO at Brex. Henrique is a Brazilian entrepreneur who founded, a payments platform, at the age of sixteen. Henrique sold the business and enrolled at Stanford University in the fall of 2016. He dropped out of school and started Brex after eight months. Even though Henrique's company seemed to take off fast, he believes that it's important to take your time when developing a startup.

Henrique discusses how Brex is influencing the financial management of business and the opportunities and limitations of fiscal decentralization. Henrique also emphasizes how financial globalization can benefit developing countries as people can work from anywhere and earn in any currency now that inter-country payments experience less friction in a globalized world.

Watch this Money Movement episode to learn more about the evolution of payment systems and the opportunities and limitations of fiscal decentralization.

Jeremy: Hello, and welcome to The Money Movement. I'm really excited to be here in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum and today, joined by the founder and CEO of Brex, Henrique Dubugras. Really great to have you on the show here.

Henrique: Thank you so much for having me, I really appreciate it.

Jeremy: Absolutely. I'm going to start with the very basic thing, which is, what do you think about Davos? We're both fintechs here in new industries, World Economic Forum, a lot of old industries, the median age is probably inside the forum, a little older, but as a company that is a disrupter in building, what's it like to be here and how are you finding the whole thing?

Henrique: Honestly, I'm very much enjoying it. I guess, this year, being in the spring makes it much easier, I'm doing all these walking meetings, which is very nice, it's very nice outside. Let's see how I do in the winter but so far, so good. I think it's been very good to connect with both people that are super relevant to our business in terms of customers, investors, and partners, but also getting to learn about general geopolitics, what's happening around the world and I think as a CEO, it's important to have a worldview and understanding of what's happening.

I would say that people that I've been meeting are very open to tech, and understanding how tech is changing the world, both in our industries and other industries. I don't know how true that was 10 years ago here in Davos, but I'm definitely feeling this year that a lot of people from traditional industries are very open and curious to learning about what we're doing.

Jeremy: That makes sense. It seems like the forum has over time just added more and more young technology companies. I think that in the past had a reputation of being all the biggest companies in the world or whatever and now it's cool to see. As you saw, the promenade has got, how many crypto things going on-

Henrique: [unintelligible 00:02:01]

Jeremy: -it's just sign of the times. I always love to hear someone's personal journey a little bit, and I think our viewers and listeners as well. Maybe just take us through the founding of Brex, what was the aha, how did it happen, and then a little bit of extrapolate to where you are today?

Henrique: Absolutely. Just to give some background to everyone. I'm originally born and raised in Brazil, which is somewhat relevant to crypto in some ways because we lived through a lot of inflation and currency changes before my time, but, definitely, we can talk about a little bit of that later but I grew up in Brazil, born and raised. Started coding when I was 12 because the scheme I wanted to play was a paid game and I realized that if I learned how to code, I could play for free and build an emulator for the game.

Jeremy: Nice.

Henrique: I did that. My first coding was also basically figuring out how to make games on old Apple II computers.

Jeremy: Exactly.

Henrique: Mine was more trying to copy an existing game that was paid and build an emulator. I found this community of people doing it and learned how to code and build my own version of the game but instead of a subscription, you could play it for free. It got super popular in Brazil until I got these legal notifications saying I was breaking some patents. I didn't really know what patents were, but my mom got super upset and we shut everything off. That's how I got into technology, super young.

Then at 14, I got obsessed into getting into Stanford because of this TV show that I saw called Shock. Then I found this Brazilian guy that was graduating from Stanford, and we did this deal in which I would code for him for free, in exchange, he would teach me the process. I got into startups by being the first engineer, this ticketing startup when I was 14.

Jeremy: Wow.

Henrique: That's how I got into the startup world. Started reading TechCrunch, understanding this world of Silicon Valley, got obsessed with it. After a year, left, I tried to start my own education company, which didn't really work out. Then I was having a little bit of trouble with my parents, there's not a manual of how to deal with your 15-year-old kid who wants to drop out of school and start companies and it's coding. I got emancipated, I moved out of my house [unintelligible 00:04:14] I was running out of money, I needed to make some money.

I found this hackathon in Miami that was worth $50,000, and I was like, "Wow if I can win this thing, more time I can just do it myself." I went to this hackathon and built this dating app that was called Ask Me Out that was like Tinder, but instead of geolocation, it's Facebook friends, you could like and match your Facebook friends. I won the hackathon, came back from Brazil, and tried to launch it as a business that also didn't work out but it's how I got into payments for the first time, I was implementing a payment system for it.

Basically, the idea was if you got matched with someone from your Facebook network, you pay $5 to know who it was, that was the idea. Well, it sounds like a good idea didn't really work but I got introduced to payments, and around the same time I met my co-founder Pedro.

Pedro, he had a similar upbringing, even though we're completely different. He started coding, he was 9 years old and when he was 12, he got very hacker famous for jailbreaking the first iPhone 3G in the world. He was all over the news, both in the US and in Brazil. I heard about him before but didn't know him. Then he got hired by Brazil's largest payments company to go work as an engineer there for iPhone security because no one in Brazil understood about iPhone security at that time and he was hacking iPhones. Then we met at the end of 2012, basically fighting over text editors. I was Vim he was [unintelligible 00:05:38] we got into this endless fight on Twitter. It got too complicated to fight over [unintelligible 00:05:43]. We went to Skype and on Skype, we became best friends. This is probably, we're both 16 last year of high school.

Jeremy: Amazing.

Henrique: Then we decided to start our first company together. We started a payments business in Brazil, that was like Stripe of Brazil, online payment processing. We did that for three and a half years. This one worked for Brazil standards, grew it to a little bit over 150 people, a billion having CPV and we both got into Stanford. We were like, okay, we got a decide, we go, we don't. We sold the company to go to Stanford because we wanted to build something in Silicon Valley, it seemed that everything big in tech was coming out of Silicon Valley. There's no Brazilian unicorn at this point.

Six months soon we decided to drop out and start Brex, we actually got into YC with a VR idea and within YC, we decided to pivot to fintech. The way the idea came about was, we saw that all these startups had raised a lot of money, $2 million, $3 million after Demo Day, and they couldn't get a corporate credit card, and we thought that makes absolutely no sense. How can that be, you have $3 million in your bank account? We went to ask the banks, why don't you do this? They were like, what if they're burning the money? We were like, you can just monitor it and see if they're not burning in money, they're like, "No, that's too advanced for our systems." We were like, okay, that seems like an opportunity.

Jeremy: That's amazing.

Henrique: It's a simple idea but I think because of the legacy systems or the banking technology, they all use a traditional legacy bank.

Jeremy: They've got a transaction banking Corp, Jack Henry.

Henrique: Exactly.

Jeremy: Writing data observation and event, you can't do that.

Henrique: It was like, $100 million in three years project for the startup thing.

Jeremy: You would have hired a strategic consulting firm and Accenture and who knows what.

Henrique: One big decision we had early on, and Brex is actually rebuilding all that ourselves and not relying on any of this stuff.

Jeremy: We have that in common.

Henrique: We were like, we built our own Transaction Banking core. I think it's super important, otherwise, you don't own your own destiny, and you're always bound by the legacy technology.

Jeremy: We'll come back to that theme in a little bit.

Henrique: That's awesome. Then we launched a year later, and there was this credit card for startups, if you had a startup, you raise money, you can get it and start spending immediately. That had an incredible amount of product-market fit, that product went from 0 to 100 million annualized revenue in 18 months

Jeremy: I have a question about that, actually. I watched that, it was hard to miss because you guys figured out a direct marketing model. You must have figured out your CAC CLTV, or whatever it was very quickly and you scaled out like in I assume, major cities where you had startup activity, and you just were everywhere with outdoor advertising and digital advertising, it was hard to miss.

Henrique: Hard to miss. That was the goal.

Jeremy: Hard to miss, is exactly the goal, surround people, et cetera but maybe, for the other startup founders out there just for a moment, what was the calculus? You don't need to share proprietary data, obviously but what was the fundamental calculus that you had in terms of the unit economics to make that work and to have the confidence to like spend at the level that you did? Did you have to raise money to do that or were you just funding it off of cash flow?

Henrique: No. We were lucky. One of the things we realized for our business is that anything in our business, we would have to have a lot of money. Before launch, we had-

Jeremy: Fintech is expensive.

Henrique: Yes. Fintech is expensive, where we have this huge system build-out, the banks that we wanted to work with, they needed to be sure that we're going to be around so we had a lot of runway. Even before launch, we had to raise $57 million, but actually, the thing that everyone knows is about is this San Francisco billboard takeover and at the time, the whole thing, if you bought billboards in scale, it was $300,000, for three months, most of the billboards in San Francisco, it wasn't that expensive, if that makes sense but the thing that I learned is that I think Silicon Valley is obsessed with trying to directly measure ROI. When talking to some of the best marketers in the world, I think just getting into people's awareness is such a big thing.

Jeremy: It all works together.

Henrique: Exactly.

Jeremy: Awareness and direct response, and everything, it all works together.

Henrique: What you're saying, because it was hard to miss every time a sales rep reach out to a customer like, "Oh, I heard of Brex. This is not something I didn't hear." The other thing that we then lost a little bit later and had to talk about mistakes, but the message was so clear. Whether you work for corporate or for startups. There's no questioning what we do and what we're here for. I think that helps us on.

Jeremy: Yes, totally. Okay, so that was the core idea and you saw that problem. You got in to build it. Now, you guys have executed a lot since then.

Henrique: Yes, right.

Jeremy: So where are you today?

Henrique: Yes. The next thing that happened to us is we decided to-- 18 months in and our customers are like, "Hey, I love your credit card. It's amazing, but I hate my bank." We're like, "Okay, that sounds like an opportunity." We then build our business account product, which is-- we're technically not a bank but for all intents and purposes, our customers use this as their bank. So they're on payroll with us, they deposit money with us, they get FDIC insurance, et cetera. That did really well, not so much in migrating people who already had bank accounts to move to us, but all the net new startup--

Jeremy: The nouveau startups.


Henrique: Exactly, because we could approve you in a day, versus all the other banks have to go to the branch you have to do you know, there's a whole thing. That started doing really well, we didn't charge for wires, ACH, anything. So that product did really well. It didn't monetize as much for the longest time because interest rates were zero. We thought that in the future, it'd be a good business for us and also for our customers, it's an amazing experience and it goes well with our core product.

Jeremy: Yes.

Henrique: That was I would say, phase two of Brex in which we're going. Then COVID happened. During COVID, we were trying to figure out what is the next stage for us? This business banking thing is going, the credit card thing is going, what is the next phase for Brex? A lot of our customers that we signed up when they were really small, now are big. Brex started with two people--


Jeremy: Customer success.

Henrique: Exactly. We sign up today, roughly 80% of every YCombinator batch. That was true for a few years ago, so all these companies are getting big and as they were getting big, they started having all these expense management, so they start implementing things like Expensify, or Concur, or some of these expensive softwares but we hated it. It was just a general thing-

Jeremy: It's awful.

Henrique: -where everyone thought, "This is terrible." We were like, "Why is this terrible?" Especially the newer ones [unintelligible 00:12:37] to be able to try to attack this expense management problem for a long time. Why are they all terrible? We realize that when companies start, they start with this culture of trust. Everyone trusts everyone, you're giving everyone cards. Everything is going great, but then some tail event happens.

Jeremy: After parties.

Henrique: Yes. After parties, someone goes and buys his first-class ticket when they shouldn't, an expensive bottle of wine or something. CEO gets super upset and says, "Oh, my God, this is never-- I don't want to ever happen again. This is not a culture of financial discipline that I want to have in my company. This person [unintelligible 00:13:13]." They implement some sort of process and system to make sure it never happens again.

That process makes it hard for 99% of people to get 1%. That's how bureaucracies started. It happens all across the companies. not only expensive. Then we launch Empower recently, which is our product to solve that, "How do we make it easy for 99% of people while catching the 1%?" Which has been having a lot of traction.

Jeremy: Is that rules-based or something like-

Henrique: There's three things that we focus on with that. The first one is we believe most employees have tried to do the right thing, but it's sometimes hard to do the right thing even if people lose the receipts, it's annoying. The first thing is like, "Hey, we just automate a lot of receipts capturing." Because it's our card, it's attached to our card if swipe your card, we can get the receipt.

Number two is policy explainability. A lot of times let's say you're coming to Davos. You're an employee. "What can I spend? Where can I stay? What are the policies I haven't". Sometimes you do something wrong because you just don't know. Within the context of this spend gives you super easy explainability. The third thing is for managers. There's this fake thing that people think the managers review every expense,-

Jeremy: Right.

Henrique: -but it's not true, no one has time to look through every single Uber you've got. We just rubber-stamp it and move on. It's a fake process. What we do is we actually can detect which things are out of policy and only fly to the manager staying out of policy, and things that are on policy, we just approve. If the finance team wants to have a second look, later they can't. It's kind of as managed by exception, or trust and verify principle.

Then we also give a ton of visibility into what's happening, so because everything is based on budgets, you can see exactly if you are under budget, over budget, and if you're doing an off-site like, how's that going in real-time and having this free or clear accountability for people. That's been generating a ton of response because companies want to move fast. DoorDash, for example, is the first marquee customer for this product, and they told us the story that really stuck with me, which was like, there was this GM from a warehouse that's trying to sell ice with beverages during the hot summer to see if it would sell.

He went to finance and the finance team said, "Hey, you need to go to procurement." Procurement, it took six weeks to buy $1,000 worth of ice, they negotiated from $1000 to $920 but then, by the time that happened, the summer was over. There's this cost of time that a lot of times companies don't value or don't revisit one of the employment processes, which is to increase what we're selling if that makes sense.

Jeremy: Yes, totally. What you've just described is just the perfect example of why software-driven companies are just going to, blow away-- Legacy financial companies. It's just such an obvious example but there's this evolution of FinTech. I don't know, I hate these FinTech, OneData, Three Data, whatever it is, but there is this evolution. In some ways, payments, some form of digital payments was the first thing that happened, like PayPal.That was FinTech or whatever.

Now you're getting deeper things. As you think about the problem space scope, it seems like-- this is like, going way beyond what a bank would have would ever consider, in their remit. How do I go into the workflows of the financial operations of a company and focus on a delightful user experience, or what have you? Just philosophically, how do you think about the problem space that you're trying to solve? Obviously, just maybe a little bit of commentary on how you think that we are kind of where we are in the evolution of how financial services get built?

Henrique: Yes, for sure. I think that banks if you think about it, they were almost like a government concession. Like, "Hey, I'm giving you this concession to take depositor money, and lend it out for the economy." The banks, they were thought out, "This is my mission." Like, "This is what I'm responsible for." Because the systems were very bad, the point of integration between the banking and the software interacting with them are really bad. There's a lot of data and experience that gets lost in that point of integration.

We believe that it's this vertical integration between the financial software and the financial services. In the same way, we think, for example, Android was, "Hey, we have this OS" and then no matter what manufacturer, there's some clunkiness that happened because of that." Apple's like, "No, we're just going to vertically integrate everything into an experience." I think that's how I believe things are going to happen.

We're going to do things, which is like, "Hey, how do we integrate both the financial services and the software to use to interact with it in one single place?" Then the thing that is complicated is, touching a little bit on your world as well. Even if we do that, then there's all these other rails that are inter-company and bank things that have been legacy software from a long time ago. [crosstalk]

Jeremy: FTP servers and text files.

Henrique: Exactly. Honestly, we have to deal with a lot of FTP servers. It's part of the job. Even if we're building a lot of our core banking for all the ACH payments checks, globally everything is still like that.

Jeremy: That makes a lot of sense. I think there's sort of-- in some ways, there's a couple of these, megatrends, whatever. One is clearly, the deep focus on user experience, and ultimately solving real user problems, and whether that's a business user or other end like that, that's just a radical different point of orientation versus like a bank. The second big thing is basically just data, and how data can-- it obviously supports great user experiences but just fundamentally, banks are not really great at doing things with real-time data or any of that.

Then the third big one, which is a little bit where we're operating is like dealing with the fact that you can build a great user experience, but if the pipes and the plumbing are still what they are, it has inherent limitations. Those could be time, [unintelligible 00:19:36] economics, interoperability, other things that are there.

The whole crypto space, at least as we came into it, or as I was thinking about it, when we circle with digital currency and public chain infrastructure and all of this, the thought was like, "Actually, you could build a ground-up kind of financial market infrastructure and a ground-up way to represent. dollars and euros and other things and make that actually composable, and programmable, and all these things. We're as you know slowly executing against that but where do you see that deeper changes in the financial system? Where do you see that connecting to what you're doing? Obviously, we think there's a great connection there but where do you see that? How do you think about that in the realm that you're in?

Henrique: I would say that look, I honestly think that credit cards are honestly amazing. Think about it, in some way, you can swipe this little piece of plastic in Thailand, and you're going to get billed in the US and this merchant in Thailand gets the money two days later. It's actually pretty impressive as a system, but I think that not everything runs on credit cards. Then if you go to the SWIFT system, for example, I think that's terrible. There's these banks in the middle, there's all these things. I think that--

Jeremy: Underneath those cards, there's 12 intermediaries and it's unbelievable. SWIFT is actually underneath there too. All these things, layer upon layer are there. Obviously, using collateral and other things, money can move a little bit faster than ultimately how stuff goes.

Henrique: The reason I bring it up is just like, I think, for our business the part where we can do on card, that works. It could get better but it works. The stuff that we don't do on card, I think that's terrible. That is very, very terrible because everything, like settlement against different currencies, and paying people's bank accounts. If I send an international wire to someone in Brazil, the branch manager of his bank doesn't really even know how to do that. There's a lot of problems with international money movement, especially when you get out a card.

That's something that we're particularly excited to on what you guys are building the new layer of infrastructure to do. I think there's also a lot of new use cases. We're seeing in crypto, with crypto gaming, and FPGAs, et cetera. They're just even, like, native and yes, they still need a lot of the workflows that we're doing. They still need to interact with the real world, and stuff like that. People always ask me, "Oh, is crypto going to kill your business?" I'm like, "No, I really wish crypto took over because I'm going to adapt a lot faster than the banks."


Jeremy: I think Block is an interesting company, obviously, too, and clearly, they've done an amazing job of dealing with what merchants need to set up their business and handle a lot of stuff that's there. That's a big business is the SAS business, and they have all these pieces, but at the same time, I feel like, there's a view too. If we could actually just get down to a little bit more commoditization of underlying payment rails that would be a step forward. You can still build amazing experiences for merchants, you can still be at the core of their operations. I think there's this--

Henrique: There's all these addendum services around there, like payment companies, they're going from being straight processing to processing being more like Shopify. Payments is a way they monetize but there's all these things around.

Jeremy: Absolutely, and capital intermediation and what you can do with the relationship with those businesses as well and support them in these ways.

Henrique: The other thing I was going to say is around global so like deglobalization has been a hot word here [unintelligible 00:23:44] like the supply chains and blah, blah, blah and I think, look, that's definitely a factor that's going on but I think there's this globalization.

Jeremy: We were talking about that at dinner the other night.

Henrique: Yes, exactly.

Jeremy: I think both of us actually, we're like long on globalist.

Henrique: Exactly, because I think there's this whole globalization now. Just to give you a new stat, when we started before COVID we measured it. there's only 10% of people that use Brex, actually, like had employees outside of the country. Everyone off 90% US has 51% hiring outside the country. That is globalizing in nature like knowledge, experience, workforce, like everything.

Jeremy: We went from basically like Boston and New York and a small number of people in Dublin to we're now in 12 countries. It's growing, we're adding more and it's unbelievable.

Henrique: Exactly. I think that, in my view, whenever things go global, global infrastructure gets accelerated as well and it matters a lot more because I think that again, things locally, they're bad, but they work. Globally, a lot of the time it doesn't work. [laughs]

Jeremy: Financial infrastructure is a place where it's still trapped, almost like in a pre-internet era. It's in the sense of everything's still bound up inside of a country perimeter, like, the actual infrastructure itself and it's this regulated proprietary things and that's the opportunity to break through that and have an intranet of money which I think can assist with that.

I'm interested just as an entrepreneur, as well, or as you think about business models a little bit. I always wonder whether over time, payment utility, if the uni economics of stored movement of money becomes more like data or whatever. Do the financial companies of the future look more like SAS companies, as opposed to bank banks that are focused on deposits and lending, or is there a hybrid? What do you think that looks like?

Henrique: I think that and this is the whole debate around interchange like, why does interchange exists? They're regulated in some places and in others, what's the advantage of that? I do think though, that payment processing it's a little bit more interesting data moving because of the edge cases of like, what happens if it's fraud, and credit cards have credit, what is the real credit?

Jeremy: I call it the assurance layer of [unintelligible 00:26:29]

Henrique: Exactly. The assurance layer of payments, that needs to be charged. Someone needs to take risks, so economics, and things like that. I think-

Jeremy: That will always exist.

Henrique: -that will always I would say, exist. Rewards are a very interesting thing to me. Coming from Brazil, no one cared about rewards and then in the US, everyone's obsessed with their points. I would say that I'm skeptical that I think rewards are a stronger force of nature than most people realize if that makes sense on the current system, so I think whatever new system is going to have to replace it with something as interesting.

Jeremy: I wonder if building blocks like NFTs become the mechanism design, open, interoperable. They can work and be used. You can be inventive, and creative, and so on.

Henrique: Well, and actually, the US is the only country that I know of that actually doesn't have a points coalition system. Amex has its own points, and everyone has their own points. In Brazil, there are points, but it's cool. It's like one thing you can trade to multiple days et cetera. There's a great thing to be like an open distributed network.

Jeremy: Work around the world.

Henrique: Exactly. Or work around the world, et cetera. I think there's going to be infrastructure design for that and there's going to be some economics that comes from that as well but I do think there's definitely a lot of space for disruption. If you look globally, a lot of countries try to compete with Visa and MasterCard locally. In Brazil, there's probably like, 10 card brands and [unintelligible 00:28:02] from there, but I'm sure it is true around the world. That local, the bank said, why do I need Visa MasterCard? I'll just do my own thing over here. I'm both sides. The problem is the global scale when you travel, how to spend it.

Jeremy: Interoperability, global, et cetera and definitely problems to solve at scale with software on the internet eventually.

Henrique: Exactly.

Jeremy: Very cool. Maybe just like at a personal level, I'm interested in your own journey around crypto. Is there stuff that you've become more interested in or areas that you're personally excited about?

Henrique: Yes, for sure. Look, for Brex, in our business, the first thing we like dabbled into crypto is the rewards. Like, hey, can you now use these reward points to convert to Bitcoin and eth and USDC. I think now, too, so how do you use that and it became our most popular rewards redemption program easily, which is--

Jeremy: It tells you something. Yes, startups in these days.

Henrique: Yes, exactly. It tells you something. I think that's super interesting. We've been thinking about what else to do in the business. The thing is, businesses, they're not early adopters of stuff a lot of times, especially like VC-backed businesses this is not exactly your money. There's some resistance there. We've been thinking about how to go next but personally, on a personal side, I'm extremely excited about crypto gaming. Honestly, I do think that look, we're in the early innings of that but if you ask the next generation of kids if they could be professional gamers and that's a thing, these kids would be excited about that. It'd be amazing.

Jeremy: If you look at the whole play to earn or work, all these incentivized behavioral token-based models with NFTs and taking possession and ownership of objects and other things, it's-

Henrique: Exactly, exactly, and the interoperability of them. I think that if playing games can become an industry, right. Because I think what we need still is the best game developers in the world to be ab;le to get games that are both fun and you can earn money, right.

Jeremy: Totally.

Henrique: Which I think is the journey that a lot of people are going through because if you only pay people wanting to make money then, it becomes a little bit a pyramid schemey act. If you have both players where this is a really fun game and I'm willing to pay for it and have fun and also people can earn money. I think that can become a real industry.

Jeremy: I think whatever gaming industry is bigger than Hollywood and for the most part it's just money going in. If you could combine the passion and the energy and the enjoyment and other things where it's money going in and its money coming out that's pretty-

Henrique: Exactly and also NFTs like a lot of people criticizing like digital JPEGs and everything and all that. Me personally I was at that view I'd say a few months ago, but then talking to 18-year-olds thinking about 18-year-olds who are born in 2004 that's crazy for me to think about-- they don't have an apartment to put their art. People are not coming like there's social media. I think what opens seat did with Twitter, your Twitter profile if that's a way of them to express their brand and expressing themselves I totally believe that.

I think it's hard for the older generation to understand because I was having a discussion with a friend of mine about clothing brands. He's like, "Well, clothing brands, the expensive ones are all about showing status." I'm like, "I think that was true, but that's not true anymore." People who use Balenciaga it's like they align with Kanye West's values and what he's about. It's more about aligning with him than it is about showing that you can afford Balenciaga. I think NFTs there's a similar thing in my view. That's at least my personal opinion.

Jeremy: No, I see all that. I see all that. Very cool. Maybe last high-level question for you is I kind of like to always ask, imagine a world where as you think about-- you could do this in the lens of Brex specifically, or what you're hopeful for out of all of the kinds of things that we're just kind of talking about. A few years from now, three years from now, four years from now, how's the world different?

Henrique: I think the world that I want to see is an insanely globalized world. You can work from anywhere. You can pay anything from any currency. There's no friction between going country by country, city, by city. We solve all the problems around like a truly globalized world. I would love that country to happen. I think it gives smaller countries a much fair shot also at becoming-- growing, developing their economies. It gives people the ability to live where ever it makes them happiest and still work for the companies that make them happiest. It reduces the friction for companies to hire talents around the world.

Jeremy: I love that vision. I am totally aligned with you. Hopefully, we can find ways to work together to make that happen.

Henrique: Absolutely. Awesome.

Jeremy: Thank you, Henrique.

Henrique: Thanks so much.


[00:33:32] [END OF AUDIO]

Jeremy Allaire
Co-Founder, CEO & Chairman at Circle
Henrique Dubugras
Founder & Co-CEO at Brex

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