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🦔 The importance of friction

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This week in fintech

August 17 · Issue #69 · View online

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


Also this week:
  • 😄 Hackers are friendly now
  • ⌨️ Number date ligature
  • 🤳 Tagging objects in AR for future transactions
  • 🧫 Metaverse and Facebook
  • 💽 Back up your files

🦔 The importance of friction
I have always claimed that friction is essential for a good creative process. Apparently, conflict is vital for banks to attain new customers as well: Bulder Bank is reporting that if the news outlets are quiet about switching banks and fair interest rates, it’s harder for people to discover them. It’s an important reminder for us working within this field that banking and fintech still is a low-interest topic after all.
Seen in this light, Sifted reports about consumer trends every fintech should be watching closely is interesting: They claim that
  1. Consumers want to shop and pay in one app
  2. Consumers love shopping on social media
  3. Consumers want frictionless global payments options
I would instead argue that this isn’t something consumers want. These are trends fintechs are working on because
  1. It’s easier for users to shop and pay in one app
  2. It’s easier for users to shop where they are - and a lot of time that is on social media
  3. Users are used to paying online – why are global payments so much harder?
Point number three is by the way first on Vipps agenda when relevant authorities accept the merger with MobilePay and Pivo. The second priority on Vipps list is to create one integration point in online shopping for Nordic stores and service providers. CEO in Vipps, Rune Garborg, is clear that the battle on payments will be to become a leader in online shopping.
😄 Hackers are friendly now
Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction:
Yesterday, “hackers perpetrated what is likely the biggest theft ever in the world of decentralized finance, stealing about $600 million in cryptocurrency from a protocol known as PolyNetwork that lets users swap tokens across multiple blockchains.” There was not much that PolyNetwork could do except asking the hacker nicely to give the money back. So that’s what it did. – Matt Levine
As if the story wasn’t crazy enough the hacker now has gotten an offer from PolyNetwork to become their “chief security advisor.”
Tom Robinson, chief scientist of blockchain analytics firm Elliptic has an interesting take on the story: “I think this demonstrates that even if you can steal crypto-assets, laundering them and cashing out is extremely difficult, due to the transparency of the blockchain and the use of blockchain analytics. In this case, the hacker concluded that the safest option was just to return the stolen assets.”
That is an often overlooked point for crypto: When it comes to the web (and bank transactions, for that matter), platform metrics are kept inside of proprietary databases and Google Analytics. But in crypto, they are viewable and inspectable in real-time, on-chain, and understandable via solutions like Dune Analytics that can give the data meaning. This means that it’s hard to hide, even if you are anonymous.
⌨️ Number date ligature
Craig Mod made me notice this convenient typographic solution to present prices in today’s dollars with a quick glance at the original date/price. It could be a nice touch for showing things bought with crypto-assets since they are so fluctuating. 😆 Link
🤳 Tagging objects in AR for future transactions
Paypal is looking into how people can tag objects in augmented reality with data to facilitate a transaction. Imagine the nightmare of a world where every object in the world can be tracked, identified, and tagged with a potential price. 🤯 Link
Paypal competitor Mastercard is, however, a bit more careful announcing that they are phasing out magnetic stripes on its cards starting in 2024. Don’t you worry – they won’t be completely gone before 2033! Link
🧫 Metaverse and Facebook
What is the Metaverse? It’s either the next evolution of the internet or the latest corporate buzzword to get investors excited over some innovation that may not even come to pass over the next decade (Like AR and VR has been for the last decade). Facebook mentioned the term metaverse 20 times in their previous earnings call, referring to the classic sci-fi term for a virtual world you can live, work and play inside. 
Mark Zuckerberg plans to pivot Facebook from a social media company to a metaverse company in the coming years. The focus will be on making money through commerce and advertising within the metaverse itself. Does this imply that fintechs shouldn’t be as afraid of Facebook as a payment provider in the physical space for now? 
This is either way, a long bet for Facebook, which is spending about $5 billion per year on metaverse-related development. If this sounds interesting, the best introduction to the metaverse is probably Matthew Balls Metaverse Primer.
💽 Back up your files
Karla Pacheco
THIS IS YOUR REMINDER TO STOP WHATEVER YOU'RE WORKING ON NOW AND BACK UP YOUR FILES.

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That's it for this week 👋
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Marius Hauken, partner Stacc X
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