Programmable Money: Why we’ve invested in Zebec’s real-time streaming payment protocol

At Lightspeed we’re always looking for Fintech startups that use crypto to address real world problems. And there are few problems more real than getting paid for work in a timely fashion.

Today, most of us don’t see a paycheck until weeks after we’ve completed a work assignment. We are essentially loaning our labor to employers, with the promise of future payment.

This is the problem Zebec solves, and it’s why we’re excited to participate in its $15 million Series A round.

Zebec Pay is a real-time streaming payment protocol based on the Solana platform. If you work for a company that uses this protocol, it can pay you as you go — continuously streaming USDC or other stablecoins directly into your Solana wallet while you work. You can then use a Zebec debit card to turn the crypto into US dollars (or other fiat currency) without having to jump through hoops or pay transaction fees.

Why does this matter? If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you no longer have to wait for your money to arrive before you can pay your rent or deal with an unexpected bill. And even if you’re not in that situation, it’s your money, after all; why should you have to wait to spend or invest it?

What makes Zebec Pay unique from other streaming payment providers like Gusto or Xoom is that it automatically withholds state and federal taxes, just as legacy payroll providers like ADP or TriNet do.

That has two big benefits. It makes it much easier for corporations to adopt, and it allows Zebec to float that withholding to invest in more tokens. The profits the company makes from yield farming allow Zebec to offer its streaming payment services to companies at no charge — a significant savings over what they pay legacy providers.

There are multiple Fintech startups trying to solve this problem from a different direction — like making it easier to borrow against payroll — but Zebec attacks it at the source. That makes it an especially exciting investment for us.

We don’t expect the Fortune 500 to change how it pays its employees overnight. But companies might want to offer flexible crypto payment arrangements to attract high-value candidates. Or some employees may want immediate access to some of their paycheck, while deferring the rest.

Payroll is really just the beginning for real-time streaming payments. Other use cases range from funding IRA and 401K accounts to automated investment allocations.

Fiat is not programmable. But crypto is. Real-time programmable money is a base building block for a lot of innovation and that opens up a wealth of new solutions to legacy problems.

Programmable Money Streaming will define the payments landscape of the Web3 digital economy. Zebec is planting the flag to be a leader in this space.

If you are building at the crux of DeFi and Fintech, reach out on Twitter (@jmover) or email me at jmover [at] lsvp.com.

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