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Forget FinTech – welcome to the ValueWeb

As mentioned earlier in the week, we are now in the Net 6.0 phase of life, where we are digitising money.  We digitised commerce some time ago and now eBay, TripAdvisor, Amazon, Alibaba, Kayak and more rule the world.  These are both intermediaries and infomediaries for commerce, but the bit they were lacking is a digital currency.

We are now seeing that digital currency emerge to enable the ValueWeb: an internet where value can be exchanged anywhere, anytime by anyone.

It is for this reason that we are seeing so much investment in FinTech, with Finovate noting that 12 FinTech start-ups raised $240 million just this week alone.  But this is not about FinTech; it’s about value exchange.

In fact banking and insurance is finished, as it’s now merged with tech to form fintech, but the term FinTech is misleading.  FinTech is just an easy term to merge finance with technology, but that is not what is happening in reality.  We are not just merging finance with technology, but reinventing finance through technology.

The ValueWeb treats many things as having value for example, not just finance.  The ValueWeb allows PewDiePie to create YouTube videos that monetise Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg $4 million a year in advertising revenue.  The ValueWeb allows anyone to become a mainstream media channel on a 1:1 basis.

The ValueWeb lets shares, favourites and likes to be monetized in the same way, which is why Fidor Bank changed interest rates based upon the number of Likes of their Facebook Page.  It is why they gain thousands of page views for no cost, and why they can spend just €100,000 a year on marketing.

The ValueWeb sees gaming as a big source of revenue, and is why World of Warcraft Gold and Call of Duty shortcuts as being big time sources of value.,

In other words the ValueWeb innately accepts that anything seen to be of interest by anyone can be monetized.  It is why goat herders in the Kalahari Desert can now be global merchants using a text message and an Instagram account.  It is why one of the biggest selling pop artists in Japan, Hatsune Miku, is just a hologram and how Gangnam Style can go global in an instant.

Shares, likes, favourites are the measures for the ValueWeb, alongside dollars, euros and yen.  Inextricably, these things are being drawn together in a new form of global digital exchange.  A value ecosystem comprising value exchanges, value stores and value management systems.  These are the systems replacing banking and insurance and, over time, fintech.  It is not a fintech world we are creating but a value world.

Now, the currency of the ValueWeb is still to be defined.  Will it be bitcoin or another cryptocurrency?  We are yet to see.  Will it be a decentralised exchange system controlled by the participants or a centralised structure managed through government licence?  We are yet to see.

Whatever it is, it’s different to anything that’s gone before and as we digitise money and value, we see a brave new world appearing that is very different to the old world.  What this means for our current value stores – banks – is that they need to think different.  Today, my value store needs to enable me to store more than just money.  I want to store the things I value which might be documents, photographs, presentations, videos … anything.

In other words, as I’ve said before, banks become data vaults, and store the things I see as having value in a physical and digital form.  If banks don’t do this, others will and are.  Currently, cloud based services are my digital value stores and if Google, Amazon or Microsoft said I could store my account details and monetary assets in my cloud bank, maybe I would.  Isn’t that what Apple is doing with Apple Pay?

So … banks needs to step up to the challenge of the ValueWeb pretty fast if they are still to be relevant in a decade or so.  Meanwhile, we are not living in a FinTech world or FinTech bubble; we are just creating a new world of value in a ValueWeb ecosystem.


About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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