Payments

Mr. Robot and fintech, season 2 wrapup

  • Underneath Mr. Robots' writing and camerawork are deep fintech themes.
  • Here are our five favorite fintech themes that came up during Season two of Mr. Robot.
close

Email a Friend

Mr. Robot and fintech, season 2 wrapup

It’s difficult to admit, but I was late to the Mr. Robot party. When we published our Mr. Robot and fintech article a few weeks ago, I still hadn’t watched a single episode. Zack Miller kept telling me I would love the show, and we came to an agreement: I’ll start Mr. Robot if he watches The Wire.

Zack finished The Wire in a month and I caught up with Mr. Robot in 2 weeks. I love the show…I’m now talking about it all the time and constantly checking the r/MrRobot subreddit. I even walked two avenues and 10 blocks from my hotel to the NBC store in NYC to buy our office some Mr. Robot gear (they had nothing in the store, only online…appropriate?).

But underneath the writing and camerawork are fintech themes that form the foundation of the characters strategies. From cryptocurrencies to bailouts, the characters utilize finance tools to reach their goals.

Here are our five favorite fintech themes that came up during Season two of Mr. Robot.

(Spoiler Warning)

E-Coin vs. Bitcoin

The show leaves us at the end of Season Two pitting two cryptocurrenceis against each other. E-Corp CEO Phillip Price is trying to get the U.S government to adopt an E-Corp issued cryptocurrency called E-Coin. He argues U.S. officials that it’s better to have a regulated crypotcurrency than the unregulated Bitcoin, which also happens to be controlled by the Chinese.

Dark Army leader Whiterose/Chinese Minister of State Security Zhang is trying to position Bitcoin as the currency of choice, setting up a fight between U.S./E-Corp-controlled E-Coin and Chinese/Dark Army-backed Bitcoin. Most intriguing is the China vs. U.S. battle for global economic supremacy — something we’re all too familiar with in the real world.

Paper backups

I guess paper is important. Some digital banks and online lenders have eliminated paperwork and gone fully digital. But it’s these paper files that E-Corp is using to try to rebuild and recreate the world economy before the 5/9 hack.

The idea that a bank could reconstruct an economy from paper files may be one of the reasons that incumbent banks are hesitant to move fully digital. The files are still not safe from the creativity/insanity of Stage 2, but paper backups are still a financial institution’s security blanket in case the world goes to hell.

Dark Net

Elliot gets into a world of pain when he looks where he’s not supposed to. After fixing the security of Warden Ray Heyworth’s bitcoin wallets, Elliot finds a Dark Net marketplace filled with all sorts of goodies like drugs, guns, and human trafficking.

The unfortunate truth is that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are frequently used for illegal activities. Cryptocurrencies are unregulated and are now the currency of choice for many a criminal. In the past five months alone, about $12 million of Bitcoin has been seized from criminal activity.

Reissue debt in cryptocurrency

In the same scene that Price asks the government to support his E-Coin, he asks them to allow E-Corp to reissue existing consumer debt in cryptocurrencies. This isn’t an easy task. Just think about it: every stock purchase, loan, and bank account needs to be converted from dollars into cryptocurrencies. The official named Jack (Lew?) exclaims, “You can’t create a currency, that’s the federal government’s job!”

Jack’s sentiment gives a view on how far things have to go in order for cryptocurrencies to become officially accepted as currency. Something like a 5/9 level hack would have to occur for governments to drop their respective currencies.

China’s Bailout

Price’s negotiation with the Chinese over a $2 trillion bailout is a big part of E-Coin vs. Bitcoin battle. He pitches three U.S financial leaders in Washington about the bailout, aptly named Jack (Lew), Mary (Jo White) and Janet (Yellen). Price hopes to use the $2 trillion against the Chinese by turning E-Coin into the new foundation of the global economy.

This emulates the financial concept that when you loan someone so much money, the borrower is actually in control. The government is forced to allow the bailout because E-Corp is too big to fail, and now Price gets to fight Whiterose/Zhang for control of the world economy.

0 comments on “Mr. Robot and fintech, season 2 wrapup”

Member Exclusive, Payments

Payments Briefing: B2B payments are slowly catching up with B2C

  • This week, we look at how B2B transactions are going digital.
  • Bar Geron, co-founder and CEO of payments firm Balance, says that B2B ecommerce is following the same trends as B2C – just some years later.
Ismail Umar | January 20, 2022
Payments

With $1 billion funding round, Checkout.com gears up for Web3

  • London-based Checkout.com raised $1 billion dollars in its Series D round of funding, which saw the firm valued at $40 billion.
  • The firm has three major projects following the funding: a push for Web3, expansion into the US market, and additions of new solutions to its platform.
Subboh Jaffery | January 19, 2022
Member Exclusive, Payments

Payments Briefing: Behind Papaya’s bill payment technology

  • This week, we take a look at how Papaya uses AI to simplify bill payments for consumers and merchants.
  • We also explore PayPal’s entry into the stablecoin race, and how payments are increasingly becoming “invisible”.
Ismail Umar | January 13, 2022
Payments

Marcus by Goldman Sachs adds GM as second co-branded credit card

  • GM is going all digital by partnering with Marcus by Goldman Sachs and Mastercard to launch its new rewards card and loyalty program.
  • This represents Marcus' second big retail partnership after issuing the Apple Card in 2019.
Iulia Ciutina | January 13, 2022
Member Exclusive, Payments

Payments Briefing: 8 trends that will define 2022

  • We welcome the new year with our very first weekly Payments Briefing.
  • This week, we explore the most important trends that will shape the payments industry in 2022.
Ismail Umar | January 06, 2022
More Articles