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Banking on status

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This week in fintech

December 14 · Issue #40 · View online

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


Also: 🧐 PSD2 - a necessary evil? 👩‍🎤 Banking on status 💳 Status on payments 🚗 Crypto for credit-cards and cars 👔 Stripe - the Internet’s most undervalued company 🎄 The economics of Christmas trees

🧐 PSD2 - a necessary evil?
The PSD2 saga in Norway continues this week with Cicero Consulting stating that PSD2 is a necessary evil for many banks and that the error lies in how the legislation is designed and enforced. They conclude that they don’t think the fintechs will get what they want before the Financial Supervisory Authority in Norway takes action. Both clarifies and enforces the regulations that have been made. I think we now have reached peak PSD2-news-fatigue. Let’s hope something actionable happens soon!
👩‍🎤 Banking on status
Why do many Neobanks feel more like lifestyle brands than banks or tech companies? As we’ve written a lot about before, cards are the only physical manifestation of these banks, even though they are no longer needed in Norway. I haven’t paid with a physical card for almost a year now. So why do these modern banks go through the hassle of producing and shipping physical cards? The answer is signaling. It’s also the same reason why the credit card number has moved from the front to the card’s back. It makes it easier to share on social media. Julian Lehr points out that it weirdly enough seems like all the neobanks are focusing on the same target audience instead of differentiating their signaling messages. He suggests that they could increase their total addressable market by doing brand collaborations. Think N26 x Manchester United. An interesting idea for sure!
Speaking of banking on status, Cash App by Square just launched an apparel collection, proving that Julian Lehr is onto something.
💳 Status on payments
Vipps is throwing out Nets in favor of Adyen to handle card payments for Vipps online. Adyen has, in a relatively few years, gone from being a smaller Fintech-company from the Netherlands to being a European competitor to Stripe. But because the company is an engine that does not have an interface for end customers, Adyen is still unknown to most people outside the Fintech world. 
🚗 Crypto for credit-cards and cars
As we usually see when the Bitcoin-prices surge, news related to crypto-currencies also increase:
However, the most interesting Crypto-find this week is the card manufacturer Ford, which is thinking about how smart traffic control systems can financially reward drivers in exchange for minor inconveniences.
For example, imagine a vehicle wants to merge into a lane of traffic. To do this, other vehicles would need to slow down, and in turn an inconvenience is created for them. Ford is proposing a system where the vehicles that need to slow down receive a payment for slowing down, while the vehicle that wants to do the slowing down, incurs a payment.
What is most interesting about this idea from Ford is how smart infrastructure could enable new forms of automated transactions with smart contracts and cryptocurrency.
👔 Stripe - the Internet's most undervalued company
Last week we wrote a lot about Stripe and their two new features, Treasury and Capital. Not Boring by Packy McCormick did a relatively deep dive on Stripe in August and named them as the Internet’s most undervalued company. Last week he wrote a follow-up covering the API-first ecosystem where Stripe and Twilio are in the forefront.
Sidenote: I'm very proud of writing a newsletter on Fintech for almost a year and this is my first newsletter adding a Venn diagram
Sidenote: I'm very proud of writing a newsletter on Fintech for almost a year and this is my first newsletter adding a Venn diagram
🎄 The economics of Christmas trees
The newsletter is taking two weeks off, charging our batteries. While we’re sitting around the Christmas tree, opening presents, we’ll contemplate the economics of these trees in our living rooms. Did you know that it takes around 8-10 years for a tree to evolve to proper living room size? Or that the industry is a case study in supply and demand: In the 90s, farmers planted too many trees resulting in rock-bottom prices ten years later? 
🎅 Merry Christmas from Stacc!
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Marius Hauken, partner Stacc X
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