(Image: Mitchell Squire/Private Media)

After years of hype, boosterism for "disruption", tech bro PR and repeated overuse of "gamechanger", investors are learning the hard way that the basics of investment and finance don't change.

The fundamental flaws of the buy-now-pay-later sector -- aka lay-by for impatient people -- which has hitherto enjoyed its status as a market darling and a free-rider on financial regulation (with buffoons like Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg leading the charge against regulation), is now going down in flames.

Take media favourite Afterpay, which was taken over by Square (now Block) in a US$29 billion deal last year that handed its tech bro creators billions. Now its value has fallen by about 80%, a fall similar to the loss of value by rivals/copycats Zip, Sezzle, and US BNPL group Affirmed.