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🤦‍♂️ Why are economists so stupid?


This week in fintech

September 1 · Issue #71 · View online

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

  • 🤝 Sbanken + DNB
  • 🌎 Outside the Nordics
  • 🌿 Sustainability
  • 📊 20 ideas for better data visualization
  • 😆 Radical honesty

🤝 Sbanken + DNB
DNB is buying Sbanken, and the only thing standing in their way is the Norwegian Competition Authority. At the time being, they actually seem to be standing in their way because they are afraid how an acquisition will affect the fund market in Norway. This is a «Preliminary assessment and not a final decision.» The final deadline in the case is October 7, 2021.
It seems like DNB must sell out Sbanken’s fund part before they can buy the bank. But the question is how valuable the fund platform is as an independent player when you can’t use every visit as an opportunity to sell funds? Non-the-less: actors like Kron have done very well over the last year without this upsell-opportunity. Maybe they are interested in buying Sbankens fund-part? Or maybe Avanza could be a solution?
What strikes me about Sbankens fund-platform is that they are missing EPK (Egen pensjonskonto) for their clients. As far as I can see, they are the only larger fund provider in Norway which doesn’t offer this. It’s a weird strategic choice to ignore a total market of over 231 billion NOK when Sbanken just has about 20 billion NOK under management. In comparison, Kron now has 4 billion NOK under management after playing their cards well during the EPK-move.
🌎 Outside the Nordic
  • We’re talking a lot about Klarna when it comes to Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), but Affirm gains a foothold with significant players when they confirmed that they are providing BNPL to Amazon customers last week. From before they have both Walmart and Shopify Link
  • Ramp, the corporate card that wants to help companies spend less money, has bought Buyer, a haggler-as-a-service solution. The company helps its clients optimize their SaaS, subscription, credit card fees, and hosting bills. This is an interesting trend where fintech companies have services outside the classical fintech space to provide a unique service to their clients. Link
  • Speaking of cloud-cost: Pinterest has disclosed that they have signed a new deal with Amazon requiring them to purchase at least 3 250 million USD in cloud services over the next eight years! Link
  • The financial connectivity provider Plaid has settled a $58 million class-action lawsuit over claims that the firm passed on personal banking data to third-party firms without user consent. Link
🤦‍♂️ Why are economists so stupid?
This week economics, researchers, professors, and directors have debated Bitcoin in DN. The “debate” isn’t stimulating to be honest. The starting point isn’t the best when everyone has predetermined opinions and looks at their own facts. The exchange started with the question of why most economists dismiss the unique opportunity to study an open and radical monetary system (which is true). The follow-up says that Bitcoin uses a lot of energy and wouldn’t work as a currency in Norway now (which is also true). Then the discussion spreads out to underground economy, price fluctuations, and what it would be worth if a private company were behind it. It ends with a comment that studying Bitcoin based on “fintech” is a bad idea.
While the accusations of stupidity hail back and forth in the Norwegian cryptocurrency debate during the day, you may be able to gain a knowledge advantage by reading peer-reviewed academic literature such as, for example, the journal “Cryptoeconomic Systems” published by MIT Press
Why all this blockchain talk?
So why are we talking as much about Bitcoin and blockchain technology in this newsletter? After all, Stacc is a fintech company, and we’re not delivering anything within blockchain or decentralized finance. To quote Liv Freihow, director for politics in IKT-Norway, in the debate above: “Cryptocurrencies, with bitcoin at the forefront, are without a doubt the largest and most radical economic phenomenon that has been launched in recent times.” Would it be wise to dismiss that completely? It also seems like the most optimistic tech community on the internet at the moment, constantly reinventing the future.
🌿 Sustainability
Sparebank1 Sørøst-Norge is the first bank in the world to pass FNs sustainability report principles. Link
📊 Data visualization
20 ideas for better data visualization'
😆 Radical honesty
That's why no one really wants radical honesty 😂😂😂😂😂😂
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!
Marius Hauken, partner Stacc X
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