Why FinTech and Digital Payments Are the Future: Analyst's Issues Buy Ratings on Related Stocks

Canaccord analyst Joseph Vafi reiterated a Buy rating on digital asset stocks, including Cipher Mining Inc CIFRHIVE Digital Technologies Ltd HIVEHut 8 Mining Corp HUTIris Energy Limited IREN.

The analyst also maintained a Buy rating on financial technology stocks, including ACI Worldwide, Inc ACIWOpen Lending Corp LPRONuvei Corp NVEIPayfare, Inc PYFRF and Pagaya Technologies Ltd PGY.

Vafi also reaffirmed a Buy rating on IT and business services stocks, including Concentrix Corp CNXC and ICF International, Inc ICFI.

The analyst rerated after hosting ~28 fireside chats across FinTech, Digital Assets, and Tech Services.

Many companies use this slow growth period to boost their competitive positioning, take share, and prepare themselves for potential changes in the regulatory landscape and the introduction of next-generation technology. 

The analyst flags the legitimate battle-testing of many business models, reflecting their resilience amid the macro. In a more normalized economic environment, those showing some resiliency now should be well positioned as things eventually normalize.

The B2B2C or business-to-business-to-consumer names have continued to win share over the last year. The large TAMs here still present beautiful medium-term growth runways. 

The analyst underscores enterprises and banks hinging towards fintechs. Partnering versus building this capability continues to make its way into the mainstream as established players with a financial services angle want to bring leading-edge services to their large customer bases, adding to the upsides for LPRO, NVEI, and PGY.

Two-sided lending networks like Real-time payments (RTP) and Earned Wage Access (EWA) also resonate in the payments market, leading to the rerating of ACIW.

The next-generation credit algorithms continue to garner uptake with traditional lenders. Many adopt elegant models despite FICO to remove balance sheet risk from their lender partners and drive partner new logo wins and market share. 

Despite BTC/USD being the best-performing asset class over the last year, Digital Assets continue to command attention.

However, the regulatory backdrop will remain the most significant catalyst over the next twelve months. Vafi notes the bounce back by Bitcoin miners pretty resiliently from last year's trough spot prices. 

2024's halving event will also be a test for those with the best operating models, influencing him to rerate CIFR, HIVE, and IREN.

MicroStrategy Inc MSTR also gets a mention, which materially outperformed not just the underlying BTC itself but also all leading FAANG names, leading software stocks, and most all the broader indices after it adopted BTC as its treasury currency in 2020. 

Also, the progress of digital transformation initiatives by enterprises and governments amid odds with a new AI twist added to the rerating.

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