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Source: Finextra, Square Press Release

“<Square> acquired Verse, a Spanish P2P payments app that allows customers to send and receive payments from friends and family instantly, safely, and free of charge.

We were drawn to Verse’s strong team, and they share a similar approach to us around inventing and learning to better serve customers. Verse will join the Cash App organization at Square, enabling the two teams to learn from one another as we provide them with additional support through Cash App technology and resources.”

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Comment from Gauss Team:

It has been our privilege to add a token to the traction of Verse and we congratulate the team of Verse responsible for this milestone.


A new normal about employment initiatives, CAPEX investments, SaaS and machine-human interaction

My last flight was on February 26th, after, for almost 1 month, I battled with what looks like the virus that is now ravaging communities across the world.

The anti-bodies test is way off, making it impossible to second-guess the real cause of the malady, but the solace of isolation provides time for strategic thinking. Learning from personal experiences, borrowing from 3rd-party perspective, reading history lessons about similar events — I wish to quickly summarise my gut feeling about where the world would go.

UN agency projects a total loss of 195 million FTE equivalent jobs — disproportionally hitting part-time shifting employees. Unavailability of safety nets increases social distress as companies would invest more money in tech, taking more and more away from a user. …


Protecting the person from the collective will be a no easy battle. It will commence when Covid 19 is history.

Government always strove to accumulate information about the individual. Not that it was interested in personal details but in the power one wielded as one: if concentrated around property to be taxed or views to pose a threat to the central authority.

It seldom recorded personal trifles and labour travails, that only came about at the time of paper diaries. People recorded their routine to learn as to how one habits reflected themselves as devout Protestants — as the routine formed substituted the bell of the church before Reformation and before that, with the humanist movement — tracking of personal features and habits. …


LetoBank, now known in Russia as Post Bank (it’s co-owned by a banking group VTB and the Russian Post) launched a project in 2015 that until 2019 allowed its users to plant over 3 million trees

A short post to compare innovation happens in different parts of the world and often they are similar in shape and form yet differ in size: in January 2020 Bunq, a dutch digital bank reported that transactions of its customers allowed it to sponsor and plant over 40 000 trees in just 8 weeks.

Kudos to climate-conscious customers who follow good nudging effects that correspond with both their personal goals and belief systems and can help the institution respond to the global effects of climate change. …


Very often, a new innovation / product awareness /user onboarding feature has been already tried by a different team, different bank

I’ve learned so many stories from who was for me one of the pioneers of modern banking innovation: James Gardner showed the art of near-impossible at Lloyds Banking Group before innovation labs and then venture in banking came into vogue.

After he had left the banking stage to purse more rewarding opportunities, as, based on his calculus, innovation teams still rarely survived for more than 18 months on average (I went to support the median twice) — new teams that I came to get to know — often repeated the very same ideas the old team, long gone, tried to develop into meaningful products and services. …


Apple CarKey will have implications much larger than the ability to store one car key inside one (i)phone

Apple will allow generating property keys — starting with car keys — via its tokenization platform just as it does with payment tokens provisioned to Apple users. It will impact private insurance, pushing players to study sharing of keys digitally and developing a liability model to cover the use-case, but digital sharing can most likely be found more secure than duplicating keys or tinkering with physical objects. Car keys are already turned into tokens people cary with themselves that encrypted radio of the car would pick-up when access is requested. …


Apple (most likely) will not loosen the encryption standard of its platform to remain the sole provider of a device that keeps your profile to yourself. And that includes financial services.

While I am cooking a multi-chapter post about the Russian Payment Landscape, shaped and changed by virtual cards, the flexibility of sending money and the coupling of cards and mobile phone infrastructure that even the brute force of Russian Central Bank’s push for its version of Faster Payments Scheme cannot surmount, I am still taking notes about what goes on around the world and one idea that visited me today was about Apple.

A company that once again broke record for the most profitable quarter, their ability to deliver personal devices people love to use continues for almost 13 years now, or earlier if we start with iPod. …


Tristan Donovan won my heart with Replay: The History of Video Games and repeats with a story about the cola wars

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Games and fizz drinks were both present in my childhood. Revisiting the joy from sweet memories is doubled by good storytelling of Tristan Donovan: where the book Replay I first read in 2010, following a review in Wired magazine to which I was glued every month, Fizz: How Soda Shook Up the World, while published in 2013, came to my desk (or, technically speaking, flew to my Kindle) only recently, after a skillfull re-enactment in Wondery: Business Wars podcast I am glued to today on my way to work and back as well as travel.

The power of soft drink manufacturers, while waning, pressured by conscious consumption and impact on health, is still strong: there are a number of good books about fast-food diet, the habit formed in the aftermath of the war and still supported by hidden network of players producing the ingredients (like sugar) that try to defend the status-quo, armed with tools like science to discover tingling taste of gaseous minerals, tame them with available tech and promote with heavy-hitting, habit-forming marketing. …


First time I read about how tech either influenced or suffered an impact from gender employment was in Bernardo Batiz-Lazo book about ATM (I tried to do a wholehearted review some time ago) and it told how banks tried to insure their front-office operations and menial tasks of accepting cheques and providing cash services. These were operated by women, who sought refuge in better paid manufacturing sector. Economic recovery in Britain in the aftermath of the WW2 took hold and these opportunities were robbing banks of dependable staff.

High-tech, automated teller machines, helped to alleviate the problem. Suprised I was to learn recently that high-tech in Britain at the time was too the result of women’s hard work — and the demise of the national sector that gave the world first powerful computers happened because of how women’s work was seen and (under)appreciated — eg., …


New additions, bold plans, ambitious conquests

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On average the number of books I consume exceeds 100 per year since I know too well the amount of good books on subjects close to my heard and mind far exceeds that number. After Kindle was made available on iOS, I travelled with the phone in hand during my train commutes to work starting in 2011.

I wrote my second degree’s thesis using almost exclusively Kindle editions and since then learned a habit of constantly trawling for good reviews and recommendations from professional domain peers.

dgwbirch is one such don who also reinforced the knack for history books I picked in the University where I majored with a B.A in history. Merging the professional need of knowing the world of transactions with the trove of knowledge of what old tokens signify in terms of trust, identity, value, how later was exchanged, insured, converted and stored — all that allowed to start a library building of my own. …

About

Daniel Gusev

10+ years, 2 labs, 1 bank, 2 startups, 1 exit. Digital banker, wishful tinkerer, amateur father. Fintech VC @gauss_vc and co-founder of @finfitapp.

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