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This week in fintech

October 18 · Issue #77 · View online

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


Also:
  • 🤺 The battle of SMB payments
  • 🤔 A critical look at crypto
  • 🚀 Why fintech is important

👨‍💻 Designing developer experiences
We’re constantly talking about the importance of design. Someone who has understood this from day one is the most valuable fintech in the world, Stripe. They have recognized the value og user experience, both in terms of creating a better experience for the end-user, but also for the developers:
If a developer is digging through Stripe’s docs to figure out how metadata is handled, for example, they are likely logged into their Stripe account. If so, Stripe can not only serve up the necessary code snippets in their preferred language, but also intelligently insert their unique API key into the snippet to make it work for their integration. This is the sort of thing that developers love Stripe for, and it signals that there’s a human being who thought about what they need at that moment and provided it for them.
While we’re on the topic of Developer Experience, Jean Yang, CEO at Akita Software, argues that we’re at a crossroads at the moment: “These next few years are going to be crucial for defining the future of developer experience. The developer experience category can either be limited by needing to tell a good story for CxOs — focused more on things like increasing short-term speed of feature development — or it can expand to where buyers spend money that matches where developer pain actually lies.” This is an issue we’re constantly seeing in the Fintech space where we (among other things) provide tools for developers, but the buyers mostly are the C-level that never touches the problems developers are working on.
Read more:
🤺 The battle of SMB payments
Two weeks ago we talked about Lunar being the first bank in Norway to offer account-based checkout to online stores. Unfortunately, both the buyer and seller needed a Lunar account, making the launch more a proof of concept than a potential product for sellers. However, this week Lunar has acquired the payment gateway Paylike, which delivers plugin solutions for several online store platforms and support for card payments, Apple Pay and Google Pay. Suddenly Lunar looks like a serious challenger in the Nordic payment space. Vipps Checkout is also just around the corner, but without features like deferred payment or account-to-account payments.
🤔 A critical look at crypto
This week we came across a few articles looking critically at crypto projects that we thought fit well together:
Anyone seen Tethers Billions?
Bloomberg has dug deep into the stable coin Tether, which allegedly is supposed to back each Tether with one US dollar. The problem is that there are $69 Billion Tethers, and no one can document where the dollars are. Not a great start.
NFT Projects are just MLMs for Tech Elites
The story of the average person getting rich on a lucrative NFT project carries the same benefit as the story of the lady who could barely afford a $5 box of cereal and then brought a dream home with LuLaRoe - both paradigms benefit from an illusion that meritocracy prevails. It’s hard to hope in a world without that illusion. 
Bitcoin is no longer a “decentralized” money system
If you want to extract Bitcoin on your own and at the same time get one payment a week, today you have to invest around one billion kroner. There are very few who can.
What does it mean in practice?
Yes, the story of decentralization is long overdue. 
As an interesting sidenote: Square is considering building a Bitcoin mining system based on custom silicon because they believe mining needs to be more distributed.
I collect cash flows
I collect shares of businesses. Been doing it since my late teens. Not always successfully. I use a certain type of non fungible token called a stock certificate for this. I never lay hands on the certificate, it’s in digital form, living somewhere in the multiverse. A company called DTC makes sure the shares I’ve bought are the shares I get. And then I hold them. Sometimes I will trade them for digital dollars that I also don’t ever see or touch. 
🚀 Why fintech is important
When the history of software is overlaid with disruption theory it becomes a lot more clear on why fintech is so important. […] Vertical software for architects, car mechanics, and basically everything else already exists, it is only a matter of time until they wake up and start layering in additional fintech capabilities.
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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