A weekly summary of what I’ve found interesting at the intersection of economics, finance and technology.
A subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is about to launch Bitcoin futures. I wonder how they will manage the risk on this, when they acknowledge even Bitcoin spot prices cannot be relied upon… Read (Coindesk)
Chinese face swap app ZAO is causing a stir with its deep fake ability and privacy implications. Fascinating how China is like a wild west for these kinds of experiments. Read (Radii China)
Facebook is experimenting with hiding the number of likes on a post, among others to “dissuade [users] from self-censorship.” I’d argue there are probably more important reasons for self-censorship that they should address first… Read (TechCrunch)
And Facebook also launched its dating product in the US, which is a useful reminder that they want ever more of our data. Read (TechCrunch)
Following on from the exploits targeting iPhones (and Android), it seems mobile phone networks in countries that Uighurs often travel through have also been hacked better to keep tabs on them. Read (Reuters)
Google/Alphabet former executive Eric Schmidt is scheduled to give the keynote at an AI conference, but attendees are protesting that he’s a “poor ethical role model. ” Another sign that that the adulation for Big Tech executives is fast disappearing, good. Read (Wired $)
Interview (in Dutch) with Belgian fintech entrepreneur Jurgen Ingels, arguing that the main impact of technological innovation on banks is still to come. Read (Tijd $)
This column argues that the focus on financial crime compliance in the banking sector will lead the banks to support “small and poor” countries even less, which has to be one of the worst justifications… It reminds me of the argument for “light touch” regulation 15 years ago, that the banks should be left alone so that they could maximise their contribution to the global economy. Read (EuroMoney)
Interesting look at China’s social credit system, which has grand (and fairly dystopian) ideas, but execution ability is lagging. Read (Wired $)
Facebook’s former security chief Alex Stamos wrote a “science faction” piece depicting the US presidential election results in 2021, highlighting all the vulnerabilities in play, from voting machines to social media. Read (Lawfare)
The FT summarises the guiding philosophy of the Hong Kong protesters, “be like water”, which they borrowed from local hero Bruce Lee. Read (FT $)
That’s it for this week’s edition. As always, thanks for reading and please forward this to anyone who you think might be interested, it would be much appreciated.