Skip to content

For The Win, or Chip and Pin

  • By Timothy Roberts
  • Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Two pieces of writing of reading to recommend to Mobile Money Transaction readers, both with implications for mobile money and providing some food for thought.

The first is from noted mobile technologist Ewan MacLeod. From his Mobile Industry Review website, he talks with great passion about a well known user verification route, Chip and Pin, and the delays and frustrations it causes him

You might be reading this wondering what I’m concerned about, but it seriously winds me up. I don’t like the fact that I have to mentally insert a pause into my day. And I don’t like the total waste of time for both parties. Assume 5 credit card transactions per day, right? Each 30-seconds in length. Factor that across 7 days, 4 weeks and that’s 70 minutes of blank staring every month. Or, if you’d like to put it another way, I spend approximately 14 hours a year — just over half a day — waiting for the credit card payments industry to get it’s act together.

The solution to MacLeod is obvious… using his mobile phone to authorise these payments. There’s already a transaction system in place for small amounts 9auch as sending a text message) and the industry is already regulated enough that adding a bit of a finance layer would not be an undue burden.

Of course, hardly anything happens in the mobile industry until somebody-else-does-it. So we’ll probably need to wait for Apple. Great.

Read his full thoughts on mobile powered transactions at Mobile industry Review.

Second is the latest novel from Boing Boing blogger and author Cory Doctorow. For The Win:

At any hour of the day or night, millions of people around the globe are engrossed in multiplayer online games, questing and battling to win virtual “gold,” jewels, and precious artifacts. Meanwhile, others seek to exploit this vast shadow economy, running electronic sweatshops in the world’s poorest countries, where countless “gold farmers,” bound to their work by abusive contracts and physical threats, harvest virtual treasure for their employers to sell to First World gamers who are willing to spend real money to skip straight to higher-level gameplay.

I’m half way through reading it now, and looking at the online world and the economics behind them is one of the core themes in the book, alongside workers right, unionization and earning real money from virtual worlds. Lots of smart ideas, and a great story as well.

Available on Amazon, Doctorow also provides the text of all his novels, including For The Win, for free on his website,