This week in fintech

By Hauken from Stacc

EU forces Apple



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This week in fintech

June 7 · Issue #106 · View online

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

Also this week:
  • 📉  The inevitable collapse of the crypto markets
  • 🖼 Insider trading with NFTs?
  • 🐎 Let horses answer your emails

🥊 EU forces Apple
In early May, the EU’s competition department concluded that Apple had abused its market position by refusing other mobile wallets to access the NFC chip for the iPhone. Even Westerveld, leader of People and Brand in Vipps, is pleased and thinks that Apple’s monopoly has given consumers more expensive and poorer solutions.
I beg to differ. Yes, NFC is an industry-standard that Apple Pay is built on. But before Apple Pay, NFC was hardly used, even though Android had supported it since 2011.
There should probably be APIs that allow iOS apps to make use of NFC securely, but there are always features that are rightfully part of the system itself. John Gruber elaborates:
Consider the details of how NFC support might work for third-party “wallet” apps on iOS. I would imagine it work something like this:
1. Unlock your iPhone.
2. Open the third-party app you want to use.
3. Tap a button in the app to go into NFC search mode.
4. Hold the iPhone near the NFC terminal.
5. re-authenticate with Face ID to confirm.
Would that satisfy the EC? It should, but I don’t know that it will, because that’s not as streamlined as paying with Apple Pay.
Apple could allow users to add third-party wallet apps and grant them permission to be invoked simply by double-pressing the side button. But what happens then? Do you get an extra step where the user has to choose which wallet to use, Apple Wallet or a third-party one? Or does the third-party one replace Apple Wallet? What happens when you add a second third-party wallet app? It would get confusing very quickly.
When you think of the implications - is it really better for users?
And speaking of abusing their market position: Isn’t that what Vipps has done for years by making its owner-banks stay away from ApplePay?
📉 The inevitable collapse of the crypto markets
This week Christoffer Hernæs, former CDO in Sbanken, write critically about cryptocurrencies and that the steep fall is closely linked to the mechanisms that have driven the vigorous growth - faith, hope, and greed.
He concludes that:
The decentralized nature of the crypto markets was predicted as the salvation from the institutions’ control. But there are many indications that complete decentralization without centralized regulation is the Achilles’ heel of the crypto markets rather than its salvation.
Richard Paulsen, CEO at Yesboss Norge, answers that history shows that critics of new technology, most often chop with a rubber ax. No one dies, and the future is still full of opportunities.
I don’t think Hernæs is against Blockchains or doesn’t see its potential. After all he added the ability to see your Coinbase assets directly into Sbanken five years ago (Possibly the best marketing move ever performed by a Norwegian bank, reaching newsletters all over the world). I find Hernæs has a balanced view of both the regulatory-, market- and technical- aspect of the situation.
However, Richard Paulsens’ view is not as balanced:
It can also be cool to decorate private digital rooms or offices for hangouts, maybe show off an NFT image. If someone likes it, they can buy it from you with a click.
In the same way, as people walk home with art under their arms when they’ve been at your dinner parties? 😆
In my opinion, cryptocurrencies are comparable to venture capital betting on new up-and-coming companies working on new technology: Some of them might be revolutionary, and some of them will, in time, be worth nothing. The main difference for crypto is a lack of regulation at the moment, and that everyone can invest, causing a lot of gamification, Ponzi Schemes, and scams.
On that note, Nat Eliason has written about a useful framework for judging crypto projects and assessing if they have a future.
🖼 Insider trading with NFTs?
Speaking of scams: Imagine being put to prison for years for buying some internet cartoons before they were put on a website. Well, the NFT-world is strange, and this just happened to Nathaniel Chastain. He was in charge of selecting which NFTs would appear on OpenSea’s homepage.
Chastain was buying the NFTs before he told his team to put them on the front page and sell them afterward for profit. His charge? Wire fraud with insider trading.
I feel like everything that has ever been thought, said or done about NFTs undermines confidence in the NFT market, so it’s kind of random to go after this.
🐎 Let horses answer your emails
Soon ready to take a well-earned vacation? Well – I have the solution for you! Disconnect from work, go on vacation, and let these horses reply to your emails:
OutHorse Your Email OutHorse Your Email
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! If you have some feedback, you can always just hit reply!
Marius Hauken, partner Stacc X
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