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Financial warfare


This week in fintech

February 28 · Issue #94 · View online

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

Also this week:
  • 🚔 Check if you are violating GDPR
  • ⛓ We need Crypto
  • 🪨 Banks in the metaverse
  • 📈 Why does the “Chart Increasing” emoji show in red?

🚔 Check if you are violating GDPR
Last week we wrote about GDPR essentially banning large parts of the web due to requesting data from outside the EU. This got me thinking about checking where the content you request from your site is located? I, therefore, spent parts of my weekend creating this side-project to check if your website is potentially violating GDPR:
Check if your website is violating GDPR Check if your website is violating GDPR
It is refreshing to play and get something quickly out when you work in a heavily regulated field daily. I had lots of fun playing with serverless functions, animations, favicons, and confetti. That being said, the banking industry in Norway seems like the best in class compared to other websites I tried out. Go ahead and try it out.
🔫 Financial warfare
We’ve all heard the shocking reports of Russia invading Ukraine last week. Suddenly SWIFT is all over the news, given its potential role as part of a comprehensive sanctions package against Russia: The European Commission commits to ensuring that a certain number of Russian banks are removed from SWIFT, effectively blocking Russian exports and imports. Here is a quick breakdown of what SWIFT is and why it is crucial.
Even more importantly, the European Commission is paralyzing the assets of Russia’s central bank. This will freeze its transactions and make it impossible for the Central Bank to liquidate its assets.
Robert Leshner
Freezing a sovereign nation’s central bank assets is one of the most monumental events in the history of finance, and will likely be cited in every future debate about financial censorship and censorship-resistance (crypto).
Another potential turning point for crypto and currencies globally is Ukraine publicly soliciting Bitcoin and crypto donations:
Ukraine / Україна
Stand with the people of Ukraine. Now accepting cryptocurrency donations. Bitcoin, Ethereum and USDT.

BTC - 357a3So9CbsNfBBgFYACGvxxS6tMaDoa1P

ETH and USDT (ERC-20) - 0x165CD37b4C644C2921454429E7F9358d18A45e14
While we’re onto donations, I recommend supporting Nerd Aid 8 (initiated by Erlend Schei), encouraging IT people, nerds, and everyone around to support Red Cross work in Ukraine!
⛓ We need Crypto
One of the hardest proponents against crypto over the last few years has been David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails and partner in Basecamp. That all changed when the Canadian prime minister imposed martial law to freeze bank accounts of those who supported Canadian truckers fighting vaccine requirements from the government:
Even just a few months ago, I would not have found it credible if you said a three-week peaceful protest in Canada could have lead to martial law, frozen bank accounts, and terrorist-financing laws being used to hunt protest donors. Unbelievable then, undeniable now. […]
But wherever this leads us next, it’s clear to me now that I was too hasty to completely dismiss crypto on the basis of all the things wrong with it at the moment. Instead of appreciating the fundamental freedom to transact that it’s currently our best shot at protecting.
Benedict Evans tweets about predicting the future of anything new are relevant in this regard: When something new is introduced, many people will point out how certain things don’t work, but that usually doesn’t mean they never will be useful. He ends the thread linking to an essay from 2010 claiming Facebook would never make money. The writer of the piece? David Heinemeier Hansson.
🪨 Banks in the metaverse
JPMorgan Chase launched a lounge in the metaverse last week. The lounge seems to be more PR play than substance, as it was timed to promote the release of their report “Opportunities in the Metaverse” In it, they claim that the metaverse is a $1 trillion per year opportunity. According to Jason Mikula, JPMC might be a bit late to the party, considering the Dutch bank ABN Amro opened a financial advice center in Second Life in 2006 — 16 years ago. Do you know what’s worse than standing in line waiting in a bank? Standing in a virtual line waiting. 🤦‍♂️
JPMC in the metaverse
JPMC in the metaverse
📈 Why does the "Chart Increasing" emoji show in red?
I have often asked myself: Why is the upward line on 📈 Chart Increasing emoji displayed in the seemingly-counterintuitive color red? The answer to this question is quite simple, but it is an excellent example of cross-cultural variation in color semantics and its impact on emoji design.
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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