The Occupy Wall Street movement, now that it has broadened in scope beyond the financial district of Manhattan to attain a truly national — even global — scale has the potential to lay the groundwork for a new generation of start-ups capable of reshaping the financial system in radically new ways. These tech start-ups, while officially unaffiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement, are nonetheless responding to the unmet needs of these protesters, individuals who feel abandoned by the current financial system.
The breakout company of the Occupy Wall Street movement thus far has been Palo Alto-based WePay, a start-up largely unknown until the protest movement began September 17. Over the past 45 days, WePay has become the de facto official way to send money to the “Occupy” protesters while simultaneously bypassing the largest financial institutions. At a time when many payment alternatives already exist, it’s more than a coincidence that an unknown technology player, free of any associations with the banking establishment, has emerged as the financial intermediary of choice. Just a few months ago, the obvious choice for sending money to an organization like Occupy Wall Street would have been PayPal, but that was before the company decided to cooperate with the financial embargo against WikiLeaks.