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October 30, 2017




The promise of the future are blockchains, in finance and elsewhere. There is already a blockchain enabled smartphone:

Currently only for bitcoins and secure messaging. But this shows that wherever blockchains will set off, they will be on mobile.


Oh yeah, mobile money. I can only repeat what I said 5-6 years ago about this subject and in the mean time none of my views about it have changed. It's madness - it's an idea that's being pursued because it can be done, not because it makes sense.

Am I really that odd not to entrust any of this to an electronic device and service that both may fail at any time randomly? Or is is just because I was able to look behind the curtain while developing mobile software? At least what I learned while doing that was enough never to trust mobile ever again for anything important.

I guess that fairy tale will be over the moment it gets hacked - and trust me, it will get hacked eventually. I can't wait to see some overly mobile-dependent economy crumble to such a hack - it will be utter chaos for the country it happens in.

Until then I stick to cash and plastic cards.

About cameras - that business is a total outlier here because its well being depended on an actual device - a device, btw, that had quite similar dimensions to a mobile phone - sure, it was a bit bulkier but not that much.
And considering what casual photographers need it should be clear that nobody would carry two such devices if one would suffice.

I can see other businesses being cannibalized but not to the same extent because the overall situation is not comparable.


"It's madness - it's an idea that's being pursued because it can be done, not because it makes sense."

Many younger people I know (all of them?) do their banking on their phone. They pay instantly by money transfer P2P and P2B. Also NFC payments are widely tested in the field. Only old farts like me still do their banking behind an PC.

Bitcoin is a different matter. But with your wallet backed up (encrypted) in the clouds, that could be more secure as your credit rating in the US, or your banking app in your PC at home.

Phil W

Yes I'm old fashioned as well and don't see the need to change from plastic cards. With NFC in debit cards, can't really see the advantage of using phones. But I guess the younger generations will be the ones that drive this.

Jim Glue

Excellent analysis of the destruction of the point and shoot camera market by smartphones with cameras. I'm an avid photographer and was highly engaged. The camera companies where hit by a one/two punch from the transition from film to digital then camera to phone.

I have tens of thousands of dollars in digital cameras, lenses, flashes etc. I almost never use them anymore. If I'm doing a real photo shoot (senior portraits, family portraits) I still use my "full rig". If I were still shooting sports (my kids no longer play), I would use my "full rig".

Everything else, which is no 95% of what I shoot, is shot on my iPhone. Somewhere around the iPhone 4/4s the cameras got good enough in my book. The 7+ rivals my DSLR in some situations. But the convenience and always with me rules the day. Yes, my DSLR with my set of wide aperture prime lenses is a LOT better indoors, low light than any camera phone. But dragging around my "bag o' stuff" is a hassle. Even picturesque vacations are handled by my iPhone rather than packing, carrying and worrying about losing my expensive cameras.

When I upgrade my's to get the better camera.

I also edit on my iPhone/iPad. Taking a photo, editing it, and posting to fb is my normal workflow.

With my DSLR, I shoot all day. Download the photos to my computer...which I also have to carry along for this very purpose. Then cull the photos and process the remaining ones. THEN upload them to fb.

Having a wide color gamut, color calibrated screen....very important to photo enthusiasts.

Next post...why I'm not so sure the camera example applies everywhere else.

Jim Glue

Ok...clearly the camera phone has disrupted the stand alone camera for all the reasons Tomi so excellently described.

Does this apply to everything else that mobile touches (banking, VR).

Everything? No. Which things?

AR/VR - probably. In time. For the same reasons as the cameras did. It's just a matter of time for the mobile hardware to be good enough...then the rest of mobile's advantages come into play.

Banking? I don't think so. Mobile will be a "new face" for banking. Mobile will ride atop credit cards. Mobile is already doing to ATM's what ATM's did to tellers. But there is still a bank.

Digital currency is a issue in it's own right and THAT could play a role in diminishing some aspects of banking. Or not, depending on whether countries will follow China's lead. But no matter, it won't be mobile that makes digital currency happen. No more than mobile makes EBay happen, or FB happen.

I think services will all ALSO be served on mobile...and this won't destroy the services, but enhance them. This is FB, Ebay, Banking, etc.

Cameras are independent devices who's functionality was replaced by phones. That may happen to VR/AR. There will definitely be mobile variants of both. But the computational needs right now are challenging even for dedicated PC's so I'm not so sure it's a near term threat for mobile VR.

As for AR, Apple's leap with ARKit and the forthcoming horde of AR apps is going to both establish AR period...but also make the case for why you really want AR/VR glasses.


@Jim Glue
"Mobile will ride atop credit cards."

Not in Europe. We do our banking with bank transfers and debit cards. The Mobile allows P2P money transfer fast and cheap.

Jim Glue

Hi Winter,

What you describe doesn't sound different. Mobile is piggybacking on top of existing services. In essence, it's a new delivery mechanism for established services.

When I use my bankcard a lot of places recognize that it's both a debit and credit card and will default to making the transaction a debit transaction and thus bypassing the cc fee. But there is STILL a bank involved.


Another market that's completely destroyed by mobile is GPS-navigators

Phil W

One of the disadvantages for payment systems involving phones is the battery. If you go out somewhere and were to rely on paying by phone and then find your battery is flat, what are you going to do? Same issue if you rely on phone based airline boarding passes.

It's one of the reasons I would be reluctant to rely on them. The other advantage with an NFC contact less based payment made by debit card is that most payments of this type have a limit at the moment. If you exceed the limit for a debit card, then you just revert to paying with the same card but using the PIN. (I'm in France)


I seem to be unable to add a link.

There us a lot of innovation on the way.

There is an Android app to send paynent requests to whatsapp friend groups that can be directly paid.

Search Tikkie ABN whatsapp.


@Phil W
Same thing is with _cards_ here in Finland too: over 25€ needs you to insert the card (chip) and use the pin. However the _mobile_ payment systems such as Apple Pay or Nordea Pay do not have the restriction. How could they? You cannot insert your phone into the card terminal!
But you need to give PIN or fingerprint scan _on_the_phone_ when you pay with unrestricted NFC payment, which makes sense in case your phone is stolen.
I paid shopping worth 109.90 euros with my iPhone last week-end. Fingerprint scan on the phone and it was done. Even the shop clerk was surprised as she had never thought you could use NFC to pay for anything above 25€.

Phil W

Ok Tomorrow, I hadn't realised you could do that. I can almost certainly do the same with my Nokia 5, I just haven't registered for it. I guess it's an age thing!

Phil W

Timo not tomorrow! Bloody predictive text!


@Phil W
Android Pay operates at least with HSBC and some other major banks. Some banks have their own NFC apps (like aforementioned Nordea).


Mobile innovation:

More than a million Tikkie users

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi everybody

Wow, am surprised at how much resistance we have here in the comments to the example I drew of mobile money? If I had just published a stat about mo Money and then drew the conclusion that 'Mobile Always Wins' - then I'd understand this amount of reluctance, but you guys? Haha, am really surprised.

Because I did mention cameras dying to smartphones, AND messaging AND music AND navigation ie GPS, AND the recent innovations you knew of, of driver's licences AND passports. That is hardware AND software, products AND services. All headed to mobile 'exactly like cameras' with several 'Nikon' examples already in the story from Go Pro to iPod and iPad, and I don't need to tell you about email and what mobile did to that...

Plastic? PLASTIC ? Are you SRSLY suggesting plastic? Plastic is as modern as a fax in communication. Plastic has as bright a 'future' as a steam-engine locomotive to trains. Plastic is to payments what Zeppelins are to air travel.

Plastic will die FAR FASTER than stand-alone cameras because with early mobile phone cameras the QUALITY choice was massively in favor of early stand-alone digital cameras. Better by a factor of many YEARS of tech 'catch-up'. But with PAYMENTS a good modern mobile payment solution UTTERLY DEMOLISHES the utility of plastic. TODAY. It is ONLY 'habit' that is obstructing the transition from plastic to mobile (and availability nationally by major commercial systems - do they accept mobile payments at retail level and does the national regulation allow payments above some silly minimum level etc).

With all that, the BANKING industry is a dinosaur that at LEAST needs slimming-down. It is in desperate need of modernization and efficiency. I do not personally think that ALL banks will go, but the majority will not survive the mobile revolution, while most banks happily lived through the plastic revolution.

Note that in the CAMERA industry there are plenty of 'infrastructure providers' like say Carl Zeiss in optics or Sony in digital camera sensors, who have done very well in this camera revolution regardless of what TYPE of end-user camera is used, stand-alone camera or cameraphone. Same COULD happen to various money-industry infra providers, national banks, payments providers, credit check companies etc. That INDUSTRY is needed but the consumer-facing organizations, gosh, BANKS? Credit CARD companies? Plastic? Gosh, those are SOOOOOOOO Zeppelins. A few will change (rapidly and smartly). Most will die.

Gosh service industries. Who was it, AOL Messenger who just died a few weeks ago. Killed by what? SMS text messaging (and later of course other mobile messaging platforms that came after it). AOL is Citibank or HSBC or Deutsche Bank.

As to NATIONAL CENTRAL banks - those that issue currency. You'd THINK that they are safe. Until you get it about virtual currencies. WHO regulates the Starbucks mobile wallet? Who regulates some virtual currency used in a massively online game? Who regulates airline miles. In fact go check out most mobile videogames - the WHOLE economy of 'apps' - they ALL have virtual currencies ALREADY TODAY. Worth literally BILLIONS. That nobody is regulating. VERY soon you can LIVE out of a virtual currency - with EXCHANGE RATES - that will be on mobile. And you won't need Euros or Dollars or Pounds at all. We are VERY close to that world as there already are some retail locations that take virtual currencies. There is even a cookie shop in London where you can pay for by a virtual payment METHOD (vs virtual currency) ie you can pay by Tweets.

Mobile ALWAYS wins. Mobile wins EVERY SINGLE TIME in hardware AND software, in products AND services. Mobile. Always. Wins. Including gosh GOSH in money!!!

Tomi Ahonen :-)


"WHO regulates the Starbucks mobile wallet?"

If it gets any traction (i.e., in the $B range), it will be regulated. Just like Bitcoin is in the process of being regulated. Countries cannot allow billions of dollars/euros etc. to change hands without the ownership being enforceable. Mount Gok is still a living memory.


@Phil W: With a phone supporting NFC and a phone and SIM card supporting Single-Wire-Protocol with a payment applet (say Visa or MasterCard) it is possible to do a payment transaction with the phone off, just like you do with a contactless credit card. In my country we can do any transaction wirelessly, but above a certain amount (~25 EUR) we need to enter the PIN in the terminal. There is nothing preventing the same for a phone with NFC+SWP.

Phil W

Thanks for the info Michael. Tomi, I believe you, it's just I'm a bit of a luddite! I do use banking apps and I would happily do internet purchases on my phone. It's just for point of sale payments that I have yet to see a burning reason to start using my phone. It's clear from what Michael says that maybe some of my concerns are unfounded, though.

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