Weekly Update

TFU |Nov. 4-10

FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra encouraged the Fed on its proposed FedNow Service; the NYDFS is investigating Apple Card’s algorithms for gender discrimination; a glitch gave some Robinhood users access to “infinite leverage”; Nasdaq implemented AI monitoring; Ireland’s DPC is investigating Revolut over concerns about its new privacy policy; and Vanity Fair explored the robbery of an Icelandic Bitcoin mining facility.

Leading Off

FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra sent a letter to the Fed encouraging it to move forward with its proposed FedNow Service; the NYDFS is investigating Apple Card’s credit decision algorithm amid allegations of gender discrimination; a glitch in the Robinhood app gave some users access to “infinite leverage” for their trades; Nasdaq implemented an AI tool to monitor trading activity; the Irish data regulator is investigating Revolut over concerns about its new privacy policy; and Vanity Fair explored the robbery of an Icelandic Bitcoin mining facility and the men behind “the biggest burglary in the history of Iceland” (Ed. note: The story is bonkers and well worth a read).


In the News

FTC’s Chopra calls for Fed RTP service.  Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Rohit Chopra sent a letter to the Federal Reserve Board in support of its proposed “FedNow Service” [full text], saying that projects like Libra further demonstrate the “appetite for real-time payments [RTP] and the urgency of intervention by the Federal Reserve” to develop a U.S. government-backed RTP service.

NYDFS opens probe of Apple Card’s credit algorithm.  The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) is investigating Goldman Sachs over alleged gender discrimination in the algorithms that determine credit limits for Apple Card users. The scrutiny began after a series of viral tweets from a tech entrepreneur who received a credit limit 20x greater than that of his wife.

Robinhood glitch gives users “infinite money.”  Some traders on the no-fee stock trading platform took advantage of a bug publicized on Reddit to borrow unlimited funds and “supercharge” their stock purchases with “infinite leverage.” One trader reportedly took a “$1 million position funded by a $4,000 deposit.” Robinhood said it was “communicating directly with customers” to remedy the issue.\

Study indicates 2017 bitcoin boom caused by one actor.  After doing a forensic study of the late-2017 spike in bitcoin’s value, professors John Griffin and Amin Shamson found that “almost the entire price impact [on bitcoin at the time] can be attributed to . . . one large player” trading Tether via a Bitfinex account. Other crypto professionals, including Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire, dispute the findings.

Nasdaq implements AI monitoring system.  The Nasdaq stock exchange announced it is using a new deep-learning AI system to monitor the exchange’s roughly 17.5 million daily trades. In combination with human analysts, Nasdaq expects the new system will more accurately identify “patterns of abuse [and] spoofing, which Nasdaq believes will become increasingly common.”

Irish DPC raises concerns over new Revolut privacy policy.  Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) said it will engage with the British challenger bank as “a matter of urgency” over privacy policy changes that now require users to opt out of sharing data for marketing and credit scoring purposes. Revolut says it will never sell user data and that the changes comply with EU privacy laws.

IOSCO: Existing securities rules could apply to stablecoins.  The global securities regulator noted that stablecoins can include features typical of regulated securities, meaning that existing rules of disclosures, registration, and reporting may apply. Chair Ashley Adler stressed the need for international collaboration on stablecoins, and said IOSCO would help the FSB’s work on stablecoins. 

Deserve raises $50M in Series C funding.  The credit card startup focused on younger consumers seeking to build their financial profiles raised $50 million in new funding led by Goldman Sachs. Deserve plans to use the funds to develop its “Card as a Service” platform, designed to help businesses “tailor credit card products to their own unique customer bases.”

Jury orders Wells to pay USAA $200M.  A Texas jury found Wells Fargo guilty of infringing on USAA’s patents related to mobile check capture, ordering that Wells pay the military bank $200 million in damages. USAA holds nearly 50 patents related to its technology and has filed other suits against Wells Fargo related to additional patents. USAA began asking banks for licensing fees in 2017.

Salvation Army to accept mobile payments.  The Salvation Army is adding NFC chips and QR codes to all of its traditional red collection tins in the U.S., allowing passersby to make donations by tapping or scanning their phones. So, as you’re hurrying into or out of the store this holiday season, keep your phones at the ready! 

Polite perps profiled post ice-heist crypto caper.  Vanity Fair dives into the story of several men who stole millions of dollars worth of equipment from a Bitcoin mining facility in Iceland and may have set up their own operation with the stolen goods. Part crypto mania, part Oceans 11, and part ‘dumb criminal’ tale, this story has a little bit of everything.






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