Whine and Dime #0019


The process of getting into a departure lounge at an international airport has descended further into farce. I've been doing a lot of travel lately between London, Paris, and Berlin, and so I have a small plastic zip-lock bag that I keep in my backpack that can be easily removed to go through security. On one occasion, one of the trumped-up purple-jacket officials at Heathrow (on the outside of the customs check!) attempted to tell me that the plastic bag was not going to be allowed because it was not one issued by Heathrow Airport. On another occasion, a small container (<100ml) that had been through multiple airports around the world multiple times, including the one in question, was summarily removed, no reason given. This whole process is totally crazy, and it's little more than security theatre.


In contrast to the "air-travel-as-shopping-mall" experience salted with ludicrous security theatre provided by most airports, Berlin's Tegel Airport is a revelation. Notwithstanding the usual bag check crap, the physical distance between the check-in gate and the aerobridge is no more than about 20 meters. The airport has a check-in, bag-check, and customs desk for each gate at the airport, a design that is unique as far as I know. This 'distributed' design means that you never have to wait longer than about 5 minutes to get through the whole process, and there is not a single shop anywhere along the way.

What's the relevance to payments? Well although the airport is a pleasure to use from a passenger perspective, it's (apparently) not great for shopping. Sadly, because the new Berlin has outgrown its original capacity, it is due to be replaced. Probably with a shopping mall that allows planes to land.

Industry News

Some sense from a national patent office? A new guideline from the Indian Patent Office's says that if the contribution of the invention lies only in computer programme, the examiner should deny the patent claim.

Could Amazon be making a play to run infrastructure for banks? Assuming the massive regulatory and compliance issues can be overcome, this is a potentially huge win for Amazon, and an even bigger win for the banks. If they can just get over the issues with running software on someone else's computer. The big losers would undoubtedly be the multinational outsourcers.

BPay's initial convenience service (ICS) offering on top of the New Payments Platform (NPP) will allow peer-to-peer (P2P) payments that may finally bring an end to cheques in Australia. Interestingly, Fastacash plans to have a competitive service up and running by the end of this year, which is a full year before NPP is ready (assuming it can be delivered on time). Fastacash already has a similar system running in Singapore, India, and Britain.

This is a pretty impressive number: “China Apple Pay Launch: 3 Million Cards In 2 Days”. Apple is playing a very long game with Apple Pay.

Check out some of the keynotes from the recent Mobile World Congress. VR/AR plays a huge part.

Oops: Bitcoin's nightmare scenario has come to pass: the network's capacity to process transactions has maxed out.

The large investment banks (and in particular JPMorgan) are doing a lot of work on bitcoin and blockchain technology. Investment bank activity is often a leading indicator of significant change: Jamie Dimon on Finance: ‘Who Owns the Future?’ Worth a read.

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