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GDPR banning essential parts of the web


This week in fintech

February 21 · Issue #93 · View online

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

  • 💰 The largest financial seizure ever
  • 🤔 Why isn’t crypto adaptation further along?
  • ⚠️ Ads for money
  • 🧮 Open source economic model
  • ☕️ Starbucks – a bank that sells coffee

✋ GDPR banning essential parts of the web
Last week German court ruled that embedding Google Fonts violates GDPR. Austrian and French court has already ruled that using Google Analytics breached GDPR by transferring IP information across the pond. All this means that at the moment, essential parts of the internet are technically illegal if you are based in Europe. Are you adding a Youtube embed? You are transferring your IP address to the US! Are you using an external CDN? You are (probably) transferring your IP address to the US!
What does this mean for companies in the Nordics?
When a court in an EU member state makes a decision, it can be used as an argument in other countries, but it does not automatically mean that it’s valid for all countries. However, I would be on the lookout for solutions where you have control over all the data and where the servers are located – especially if you are operating within Fintech.
Benedict Evans
Idle observation - if I embed a podcast player on the front page of my website, I will almost certainly have broken GDPR. We’re banning Web 2.0 while building web3…
Here is, ironically enough, a thread on how the European Union could be the natural home of web3.
💰 The largest financial seizure ever
Six years ago, someone stole 119 756 Bitcoins from the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex. Last week the US seized the Bitcoins, now worth about $3.6 Billion, and arrested two people: Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan. 
The government has charged them with trying to launder some of this, a nearly impossible job considering every money move got tweeted out on multiple Twitter accounts, notifying the authorities. So much for crypto being known for money laundering.
This means they’ve been sitting on billions of dollars of notional gains, watching the price go up, unable to spend it, and going slowly mad, which might explain why they made some staggeringly bad rap videos. – Ben Evans
Netflix has already bought the documentary rights three days after the news broke. The most entertaining read on the story comes from Trung Phan, who argues that Heather Morgan is the wealthiest rapper ever because of this heist.
🤔 Why isn't crypto adaptation further along?
Why isn’t crypto adaptation further along, given that Bitcoin is over ten years old?
The term DYOR (Do Your Own Research) is a common phrase used by cryptocurrency enthusiasts and states that you should read whitepapers or even code and contracts before you put money on the line. But no tech where you have to read code to avoid being robbed will get consumer adoption.
Albert Wenger argues that the first trigger for mainstream crypto adaptation is a pre-installed wallet on devices, much like Microsoft bundling Internet Explorer with Windows in the 90s allowed the web to take off. Mahesh Vellanki from SuperLayer argues that the user experience needs a rehaul and that it’s not intuitive even to hold control over your digital assets.
⚠️ Ads for money
Nonetheless, Superbowl commercials last week were peppered with ads for crypto-related companies, indicating that the adaptation is moving on (or that VCs are pouring money on the bonfire). My favorite was Coinbase cryptic ad with a QR-code bouncing around on the screen:
Ad Meter 2022: Coinbase
Noah Garfinkel
One reason I still have trouble believing crypto currency is money is that there aren’t commercials for money.
🧮 Open source economic model
The Danish government has made its new economic model open source. This model is supposed to replace the existing macro model used in Denmark - ADAM (Annual Danish Aggregate Model), which has been continuously developed and refined since 1970. This is a step forward in transparency, even though 99% (including me), don’t understand a thing of what is published. Either way, this is an interesting precedent for other countries to follow!
☕️ Starbucks – a bank that sells coffee
As we’ve mentioned before, you can also think of Starbucks as a bank — and an unregulated one at that. Starbucks customers have preloaded money onto Starbucks cards as part of their rewards program, loaning the company ~$1.6 billion at about -10% interest rate.
Why Starbucks is Actually a Bank
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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