Stranger Things season 4 is here and already breaking so many records, as Netflix members have used around 287 million hours streaming the show on its first debut weekend! Now there’s a lot to be said about the consumerism behaviour behind TV and entertainment and the global access to platforms such as Netflix, but that’s for another day. Whilst our eyes were glued to the screen trying to scramble through the plot to find out ‘WHY IS VECNA DOING THIS!?’, it suddenly hit us – how different would Stranger Things be if it had fintech on its side in Hawkins.
Now for any strange humans who have somehow dodged the show which premiered six years ago, it centres around a small town called Hawkins. A young boy, Will, disappears in the small town and a plot rapidly unravels like dominos with secret experiments, superpowers, supernatural forces, and skin that’s in serious need of a good moisturiser (seriously Vecna, we’re talking about you). But in this world where The Upside Down exists, we’re here to add our own spin and comically minimise the strangeness of Stranger Things with fintech solutions.
Gen Z must have been spinning and withholding their screams watching the technology available in the gripping show. Bringing in the modern advancements of mobile internet, such as 4G, we wouldn’t have seen SO many situations. Instead, viewers watched characters trapse around saving the world with clunky walkie talkies, and waiting for their computers to stop whirring so they could use the internet. All the bulky equipment was definitely the first red flag. Let’s say that there was stable internet, the boys wouldn’t have had to trapse to Suzie for help and saved so much petrol and time. But even more importantly – a simple call from a mobile phone would have salvaged Nancy and Jonathan’s relationship by episode 3. Seriously people – communication is key!
As fellow fintechs, we have to say, the whole debacle with Yuri was so frustrating! The lack of mobile banking and accessibility to funds was painful to watch. In a simplified world with fintech – we would have seen two major differences:
- KYC –Yuri’s shifty personality would have raised red flags for our heroes during the ‘Know Your Customer’ phase. His illegitimate business ventures and lack of business account would definitely have come to our attention during the AML and KYC checks.
- Money transfers – Thanks to mobile banking in our current reality, 76% of Americans bank via their mobile device applications. With such ease of movement for funds, Joyce and Murray could have missed the traumatic journey and eventual kidnapping in efforts to save Hopper and just wired the money across. Even better, with the use of a fintech financial provider they would have faced minimal transfer fees and loss of currency during the exchange!
With the growth we’ve seen in mobile banking, the Stranger Things team could’ve benefitted from: support services, transactional services, secure movement of money (blockchain for the win) and as long as they have internet or wi-fi access they’d be able to transfer that money from anywhere in the world…or upside down.
Additionally, let’s look at the love for D&D which was a key bonding element for the young boys of the series. That’s Dungeons and Dragons for anyone scrunching their face in confusion. Life has taken us to a thriving point where people can now profit from playing games that they love. During recent years with the pandemic, the global video game market rocketed in worth to over $159 billion. Recently conversations have also taken place about how people can profit specifically from D&D. With spin off video games, betting opportunities, and simply building an audience around the game, the possibility of monetising is very probable.
With the use of technology and fintech, the guys would have been able to play competitively online, or even using crypto (but let’s not open that can of worms today) to earning money through the play-to-earn concept. With so much practise in playing their beloved game, and the competitive playing of tournaments, the boys would have been able to stream competitions and earn a quick hit of cash. The money would have been a huge help for the leader of Hellfire Eddie Munson, who could have completely avoided the need to live in a trailer park and sell illegal substances to barely stay afloat. Which then would have removed the strange events that caused Eddie to go on the run and plunge to his inevitable death. Yikes.
Oh, the joys of security breaches and cybersecurity. According to a study by Check Point Research, in 2021 each organisation faced 925 cyberattacks per week globally. The relevance here is our boss tech-savvy Suzie Bingham, who showed us just how simply systems could be corrupted to extract data for personal gain. If fintech innovations existed in Stranger Things, such as blockchain technology, Suzie wouldn’t have so easily accessed the top-secret information through momentary hacking. But of course, we’re on her side.
New technological innovations have ensured that data is more sensitively stored. Why would blockchain make the show less strange? Blockchain technology cannot be changed, altered, or deleted over time. The cryptography makes data and companies far more resilient to attacks, so the likes of Suzie wouldn’t be able to get the location of El.
Another fun little nugget we want to share is about ‘The Upside Down’ and its similarities to the backend of a user interface. We consistently saw how Vecna was controlling elements of our reality through his knowledge (or data analysis) from the alternate dimension. Taking technology into the series, we would see similar movement in the paradigm shift between reality and The Upside Down because it truly conveys what we experience. The backend, AKA Upside Down, has control over what we see on the front end, AKA reality, and even has significant impact on it. In Stranger Things it’s not a benefit, but it’s a strong commentary on the world of fintech and how it’s changing the world as we know it.
In summary, the only strange thing here is our sense of humour. The iconic show not only has millions of us gripping to our seats but it managed to make so many of us appreciate the innovations and tech that we have at our disposal. We’re not sure how many of us could save the world in time with such bulky equipment. Who knows what the fifth and final season will bring us; will we potentially see a fintech spin-off of Stranger Things? Well, stranger things have happened *wink wink*.