How real is real? Or is it all fake?

Jason Kottke blog links to an interesting article about a guy submitting a fake, as in computer generated, image and getting his real French ID card.

The photo I submitted for this request is actually a 3D model created on a computer, by means of several different software and techniques used for special effects in movies and in the video game industry. It is a digital image, where the body is absent, the result of an artificial process.

The image corresponds to the official demands for an ID: it is resembling, is recent, and answers all the criteria of framing, light, bottom and contrasts to be observed.

The document validating my french identity in the most official way thus presents today an image of me which is practically virtual, a version of video game, fiction.

The article also links to a different image study, done by, supposedly, Google Street View camera, and then, possibly, manipulated in Photoshop.

I’ve been involved with some regulated industries (like Forex) which require proof of identity and residence, all submitted digitally (via email or web form file upload). There’s always a fair amount of obviously fake images sent in.  But the above two stories beg a question of where does one draw a line.  With the recent technological advances and an increasing reliance on digital ways, how can anybody reliably validate an image as fake or real?

I don’t have an answer, but I think the only way here is to fight fire with fire.  As in use technology to do image analysis, rather than an untrained human eye.  Are there well known or well established tools that can do the job?  Not sure about well known or established, but at least some tools do exist.

iFX EXPO International 2014

iFX EXPO International 2014

About iFX EXPO

  • The largest financial B2B convention
  • Over 500 FX & Binary Brokers
  • Over 1,500 senior executive attendees
  • Over 70 exhibitors from around the world
  • Speakers from the industry’s largest firms
  • Socialize with the industry’s leading executives
  • Meet international affiliates & introducing brokers
  • Learn industry trends and new developments
  • Attend panels and lectures from leading firms

Telling people to leave finance

Telling people to leave finance

First, I want to say it’s frustrating how risk-averse the culture in finance is. I know, it’s strange to hear that, but compared to working in a start-up, I found the culture and people in finance to be way more risk-averse in the sense of personal risk, not in the sense of “putting other people’s money at risk”.

People in start-ups are optimistic about the future, ready for the big pay-out that may never come, whereas the people in finance are ready for the world to melt down and are trying to collect enough food before it happens. I don’t know which is more accurate but it’s definitely more fun to be around optimists. Young people get old quickly in finance.

Spending the last few years in a variety of forex companies, I have to agree.

Saxo Bank opens an office in Cyprus

Saxo Bank is a well known name for anyone who’s associated with Forex.  Today I was driving to the Limassol Income Tax Office, past the new KPMG building, when I noticed the new sign of Saxo Bank on the second floor of that building.  I was a bit surprised.  Sure, I’ve heard the rumors that it was coming, but nothing more.  I don’t follow Forex news too much, but I’m sure I would have heard of it.

A few hours later, during the lunch break at the office, while catching up with the news, I noticed the announcement in Cyprus Mail.

SAXO Bank, the specialist in online trading and investing, yesterday announced the opening of its new office in Cyprus which will provide Cypriot investors access to international financial markets.

The office – the Danish bank’s 22nd — is located in Limassol and will serve as a regional business centre covering the whole of Central and Eastern Europe.

I think now we can officially call Limassol – the capital of the Forex industry.

Coincidence in e-Forex magazine


The company I work for – FXCC – has recently advertised in e-Forex magazine. We just received a few copies of the magazine with our ad in it. I was surprised to see that our full page ad coincided with an article about one of my previous employers – FxPro. The article is featuring a picture of George Xydas – one of my former bosses.

All of a sudden this whole Forex industry felt really really small.