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Should Vipps take on other industries than finance?

Also: 💳 Everyone is doubling down on payments. ⛓ Cryptocurrencies going mainstream? 🤓 Data sharing

This week in fintech

November 2 · Issue #34 · View online
A weekly summary of the latest news in our world of finance, design, and technology.

  • 💳 Everyone is doubling down on payments.
  • ⛓ Cryptocurrencies going mainstream?
  • 🤓 Data sharing is complicated

🤔 Should Vipps take on other industries than finance?
At the risk of becoming “the one who criticizes Vipps,” I have written about Vipps’ recent mobile venture together with Leonard Muvule Kongshavn from Google Norway.
What happens when your payment provider starts picking and choosing between your creditors?
What happens when your payment provider starts picking and choosing between your creditors?
We comment that it is right for Vipps to exploit its market position but question whether a mobile subscription is a proper focus when there are still so many opportunities for improvement in their core area? Especially when their competitors in a short time can copy data-rollover, the only thing that separates Vipps mobile from the rest. 
We’ve had a lot of discussions about this in our office over the last few weeks, and not everyone agrees with my stance on this, but I find it interesting what happens when a Fintech company ventures in to other industries and not the other way around.
💳 Everyone is doubling down on payments
Last week DNB shared their report about what transaction data can tell us about behavior and consumption during the first half of the corona pandemic. The results are not very surprising (Tourism is struggling, people are refurbishing), but we enjoyed a few of the visualizations showing card-usage in different ways:
❤️ Card transactions like GitHub-contributions   Source: DNB
❤️ Card transactions like GitHub-contributions Source: DNB
Speaking of payments: The UX consultancy “built for mars” has written a thorough study on the  UX of point of sale (POS) payment services . Well worth the read and few UX-tips.
Different POS-tested by build for mars
Different POS-tested by build for mars
At the moment, Visa and Mastercard account for 90% of card payments outside of China, but as Big Tech and governments are rolling out non-card payments solutions, Visa and Mastercard are making investments to defend their payments turf. Both firms acquired bank-to-bank processors last year to help facilitate international payments, and Mastercard last month  partnered up with ACI Worldwide to “provide a wide range of real-time payment solutions globally.”
Meanwhile, Amazon is trying to enter the payment race and compete with Google Pay and Apple Pay with a palm reader (?) called Amazon One. The hand-scanning tech isn’t just meant for Amazon’s stores. They also hope to sell it to other retailers, including competitors. Tech writer John Gruber is not convinced:
Amazon One source: Amazon
Amazon One source: Amazon
On the surface, this sounds insane. Why in the world would anyone voluntarily send their palm print to any company  to store in the cloud ? With something like Face ID and Touch ID, your biometric info is not only stored solely on your own device, it’s stored on the secure enclave on your own device. John Gruber
⛓ Cryptocurrencies going mainstream?
While we’re talking about payments:  Coinbase is launching a card in the US. The card allows crypto to be used for purchases online and in-store and ATM cash withdrawals. Users can earn up to 4% back in Stellar Lumens (XLS) or 1% back in Bitcoin (BTC) by using the card. This is a significant milestone for Coinbase’s efforts to create mainstream adoption of crypto as a genuine utility.
On the other side, PayPal will allow customers to hold Bitcoin and other virtual coins in its online wallet and shop using cryptocurrencies at the 26 million merchants on its network. The ability to make payments with cryptocurrencies will be available from early next year.
Both banks and trading platforms are venturing into crypto assets. It’s a more challenging regulatory route for e.g. Harvard and Stanford to invest in these assets. Paradigm, an investment company founded by the ex-Coinbase-partner Fred Ehrsam, saw this market opportunity and works on taking  alt-currencies into finance’s mainstream . So far, their bet has paid off. Paradigm’s starting bankroll is already worth 3x of its start in the 2018 post-bubble market. The  Norwegian cryptoanalysis-company Nansen AI, also want in on this market, and last week got 1.2 million dollars in funding. This happens just a month after  Dune Analytics; another Norwegian cryptoanalysis-company, secured 2 million dollars in funding .
🤓 Data sharing is complicated
As the crypto-community seems to rise to new heights, the tax authorities in  Norway have identified ~65 000 people with cryptocurrencies. Still, only ~5 000 of these have reported it in their tax return. This is presented as fraud, but the case might be that regulations do not keep up with the technology, making it hard for users to report. Imagine having to manually calculate the return of every fund or stock-trade you’ve done. Let’s hope that this process in a few years is automatic, like funds and stocks-reporting.
While we’re talking about sharing data,  Finans Norge wants the debt register in Norway to include all debts. As someone who regularly works with this data, we wholeheartedly agree! The real question is, however, why this wasn’t included in the first place? 🤔
🙏 Please don't keep it a secret!
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Marius Hauken, partner Stacc X
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