Now I know where all the people are … they’re in the
I just opened the innotribe conference stream with Udayan
Goyal, Founder and Managing Director of Anthemis Group, talking about the
future of money with guest panellists:
Assia, Founder and CEO, Etoro
Gothill, Research Technologist, Webisteme
Laven, CEO, The Currency Cloud
Shah, MD, Product Strategy Executive T&SS, J.P.Morgan
Wilmore, Managing Director, Barclaycard US
And we had a sellout room with standing room only.
So what is the future of money?
Well, we didn’t know quite how to run this session, as a similarly
themed session ran last year and we didn’t want to just repeat it, so we
decided to mix it up by asking whether we really need our core infrastructures
for processing money, such as SWIFT.
A radical thing to do at SIBOS and, unsurprisingly, the
answer was overwhelmingly yes, we do need them … but not in the same way.
The set up for the talk was to compare the banking industry with
To run trains you need tracks and the tracks of our fears
are how things have changed.
For example, we are seeing new models of value exchange in
the form of mobile and internet exchanges person-to-person, and we are also
seeing new operators who could disrupt traditional operations, such as the
China National Advanced Payments System (CNAPS) and mobile carriers like
Vodafone with M-PESA.
Throughout the session we had audience dialogue about these developments
alongside our panellists views of the future.
The key lessons and walkaways is that the future is very
much going to need the tracks that are laid by the industry, but the trains,
the train operators and the passengers will change.
In fact, they already are, and this was illustrated well by
eToro, Webisteme and Currency Cloud.
All three firms made clear that you can trade, exchange and
process without a bank involved, but that you need the rails to run.
Having said that, eToro’s founder Yoni wanted to see an intergalactic
We couldn’t deliver that, but we could deliver an
alternative to railways: roads.
When roads and the automobile (auto-mobile?) appeared, everyone
thought the rails and railroads would disappear.
They didn’t, but they adapted.
Like roads, which offered individuals the ability to get
point-to-point direct without having to wait for operators’ interventions, the
mobile is offering individuals the ability to transact person-to-person without
the financial systems intervention.
That’s what Bitcoin is doing.
But it goes way beyond this, in that the mobile does not get
rid of the banking systems, just as the car does not get rid of the railways
You need both but just for different reasons.
And that’s a really good way to end our analogy, as the
banking system is a railroad with trains but the exchange of value could equally
run on a freeway with other vehicles.
Both railroads and freeways however are highly regulated for
health and safety, as that’s where there is massive risk to the economy, so
whoever runs our railroads or creates our freeways in value exchange will equally
fall under governmental control.
Not much changes in the future from a structural view
therefore, but from an operational view we can see and are seeing radical
Whatever happens, it certainly had people thinking.
Watch that space.
Ah well, now off to enjoy O-Sake, sorry Osaka .. back