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This week in fintech

October 25 · Issue #78 · View online

A weekly summary of the latest news in our world of finance, design, and technology.


Also:
  • 🤔 Big Tech reconsidering
  • 💪 Helping banks and finance companies
  • 🏃‍♂️ Mastercard moving into crypto
  • 🤓 Reports

💻 BNPL in your browser
We’ve previously written about how browser plugins are an untapped market for Fintechs. It could be used for secure online payments and access your online bank as quickly as their mobile app. Klarna has seen this potential and launched a browser extension for Chrome, enabling pay-in-4 for any online purchase on any site. This is a smart way to become merchant agnostic. This is a broader application of a “one-time” card concept that many actors provide. Last week Klarna also announced that users will be able to pay instantly as long as Klarna is accepted by the merchant. This could lead to its app (and browser extension) becoming more akin to a digital wallet and taking on the likes of PayPal.
While we’re onto the topic of browser extensions, you might have heard the term web3 mentioned if you visit the same corners of the internet as us. But what is web3? 
Web 3 isn’t that complicated—it’s simply attaching a wallet (therefore, a verified identity and a funding source) natively to any application or piece of software. Source
Web3 primarily refers to crypto-wallets that you can connect to websites, but there is no reason that this idea isn’t taken further by banks, Vipps or BankId. Imagine logging into your BankID browser extension, verifying that you are you, and all surfing from there on, you are automatically logged in to solutions requiring BankId authentication. You could even get notified if sites you visits are unverified or reported as scamming sites.
🤔 Big Tech reconsidering
Facebook is finally launching their digital wallet… without the Diem cryptocurrency that was meant to be the cornerstone behind the project. The pilot program will let users send and receive money “instantly, securely, and with no fees” using the Paxos stablecoin. This is a partnership with Coinbase which will be serving as the custody partner that holds the actual funds for the pilot. Diem was formerly known as Libra, before the name was changed in an effort to distance the now-independent group from Facebook, which initially started it. 
Interestingly enough, Facebook also plans to change the company name to focus on the metaverse according to The Verge. Time to roll up the sleeves again for Facebooks design team that just launched their new brand identity. Bloomberg speculates about the names “Meta” and “Horizon” (Path?). This move is probably similar to what Google did in 2015 when they reorganized entirely under a holding company called Alphabet to signal it was no longer only a search engine.
Benedict Evans
If you give a broken product a new name, people will quite quickly work out that this new brand has the same problems. A better ‘rebrand’ approach is generally to fix the problem first and then create a new brand reflecting the new experience.
To get back on track to the topic of fintech here, Google is reportedly scrapping its plan to offer bank accounts to users.
💪 Helping banks and finance companies
We can’t publish a newsletter without mentioning Shifters coverage of how we help banks and finance companies get new services into the market faster at a significantly lower cost:
Three acquisitions in one year, but the boss is ready to expand the Stacc puzzle with new pieces
Stacc's recipe for fintech export: "Builds software around a process instead of the other way around"
🏃‍♂️ Mastercard moving into crypto
Regular readers of the newsletter know that we at times publish relevant patent filings. This week we came over Mastercard, which has filed a patent for positioning themselves in the emerging ecosystem of cryptocurrencies. The patent has a solution for providing cards to cryptocurrency institutions to make it easier for users to convert crypto to fiat. This is interesting because the use of cards for making crypto payments will create a degree of familiarity for consumers and help facilitate broader adoption.
🤓 Reports
If reports are your cup of tea, I have two cups for you this week:
The 2021 McKinsey Global Payments Report
McKinsey talks about how digital currencies are entering a critical new phase in their 2021 Global payments report where they delve deeper into stablecoins, and how the global payments infrastructure is returning to healthy growth.
Plaid Fintech Effect 2021
Plaid has launched their report on how fintech reached mass adoption in 2021.They are placing fintech among the most widely adopted consumer technologies outside of the internet. I wouldn’t take this report too seriously, considering this is an open banking platform, and one of the findings is that 76% of consumers says that the top priority for choosing a bank is the ability to connect their accounts to apps and services.
That's it for this week 👋
Remember, if you’re enjoying this content, please do tell all your (fintech) friends to hit the subscribe button!
Marius Hauken, partner Stacc X
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