The cell phone camera may end up being one of the most important anti-fraud technologies ever developed.
Without going to much into secret sauce, and acknowledging there are a million different use cases:

Yesterday I tried to buy $50 of Steam credit, a transaction I have made many times before, with a credit card issued by a U.S. BigBank. They denied it due to perceived risk.
There are a few different loops you can imagine for instantly resolving this, and I’m sort of professionally irked that the bank has not long since fixed it using e.g. my authed phone session as a 2FA, but “Tell the user to take a photo of X” will feature into many in future.
An interesting bit about cameras is that there exists a spectrum of identity / uniqueness proofs and cameras enable “weak evidence of identity but strong evidence of unique human effort, captured extremely cheaply”, where that was a tough point on the spectrum before.

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More from @patio11

12 Oct
Comp packages at startups are going up and they’re opening both the geographical and life story hiring windows.

One structural reason, framed as a sketch:
Founders: The hiring market is absolutely mad!
Me: Good thing capital is abundant then.
Founders: No you don’t understand. We can’t even find engineers for mad money.
Me: Press X to doubt.
Founders: Not helpful.
Me: *sigh* What creative things are you doing to fix this.
Founders: Asking our network for referrals and hiring sourcers.
Me: Neither of those is creative, and both of them are trivially duplicated by every other firm your lead invests in, which all have *the same* network.
Founders: So what would you do?
Me: Probably tweet a bit.
Read 6 tweets
8 Oct
Got a “Happy 21st year anniversary” message from my first bank account, which a) I feel old, b) goodness am I a bit of a pack rat for bank accounts, c) you have to love the LTV versus CAC math that makes a bank happily open accounts for kids with $20 in expectation of this email.
In “could have come directly out of a strategy presentation” my mom called the university I was going to attend, asked them who ran the campus branch, and then drove me to their local branch to open an account so that I’d be able to deposit work study checks.
And so that’s how I chose which business card I started using ~7 years later and which currency desk to rip my eyes out on buying yen for dollars in those dark days pre-TransferWise.
Read 7 tweets
8 Oct
Kind of want to update my Tether post for the 2 year anniversary:…

The short version would have to be "The skeptics have been vindicated left and right but there's something like $60 billion more Tethers now."
I might or might not get around to it as I have a number of writing projects going through the pipeline now. (Which is good news! One will hopefully hit the Internets in the next week or two.)
Remember when this was a controversial assertion and the crypto community said "Nope nope this is a cash-and-carry business. We are believers in hard money here."

Now the line is "Oh pishposh we are grown-ups with prime brokerages. Capital efficiency, my good chap." Image
Read 8 tweets
8 Oct
Worth reading both for a lucid explanation of Tether and for a great mental model (“senior and junior claims”) to import from finance into your worldview. (It is also extremely extremely applicable to engineering compensation among other things.)
Employees have de facto a (relatively small) senior claim to cash in their employer’s bank account AND a (hopefully larger) junior claim on enterprise value, via equity.

That junior claim is junior claim among junior claims, due to the preferred/common structure, until success.
By law and custom, a company crashing will attempt to satisfy payroll first.

Which tends to be a lot less than employees were *counting on* but the feature of being paid what one *is owed* is a notable one in case of business failure!
Read 6 tweets
7 Oct
Who could possibly have seen that coming.
One great social ability for large media orgs which independent journalists don’t have: they can email you a pointed question and, if you don’t answer it, your non-answer will be treated as an answer by everyone that matters, and so you straight-up disclose unfavorable facts.
And so Bloomberg, arriving to the story (it has to be said!) several years late, called up the plausible Tether contras and asked something rhyming with “It’s been alleged that Tether loans out tethers to contras. Have you borrowed tether? Have you borrowed more than a billion?”
Read 6 tweets
7 Oct
I am going to be seriously irked if Tether collapses and @Bitfinexed is described as a troll and not as “independent researcher who scooped every media outlet worldwide for years.”
Anyhow it’s a great writeup which adds relatively little to what cognoscenti know about the situation, other than an on-the-record expression of doubt by one of their bankers (!).
And the other one is, prudently, hedging and distancing themselves.
Read 4 tweets

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