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Shaping the future of finance

Ever wondered what a digital human looks like?

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I know that I could get boring so won’t labour this one over and over again, but for people attending Eurofinance in Miami in May or Money 2020 in Singapore in March, I have great news for you! Both events are going to be promoting and launching my new book, Digital Human. At Money2020, you can actually get signed editions weeks before everyone else on March 14, but you have to pre-purchase here. There are also private launch parties in London on March 19, where I am joined by Barclays CEO Ashok Vaswani and Ant Financial’s EMEA Head Li Wang; and New York on April 12, where special guests include Rita Liu who heads up Ant Financial’s US operations.

Bearing in mind that the book has a 30,000 word case study on Ant Financial and their plans for financial inclusion, I guess it’s not surprising that I’ve invited their people to join me for the launch. The case study is actually the first in-depth English language case study on the company and includes some stunning information about how they’re processing a million transactions a second on average. Compare that with Visa and MasterCard who, on average, are processing less than 2,000 transactions per second and you get the idea.

Anyways, to wet your appetite for the new book here’s the first chapter, and the first official reviewer says that it should be up there with Yuval Noah Hariri's Sapiens. A fine complement.

If you would like to attend any of the launch events, let me know by sending an email to You can order the book over here, and here’s a little bit more description along with what people are saying about it.

Digital Human: Your Life, Your Future, Your Money

We have seen a wave of excitement about technology in the past few years, from the Internet of Things to bitcoin to mobile apps to FinTech.  These developments are changing the whole way in which we live and relate to each other, as every human on the planet becomes connected to everyone else through the network.  It is a revolution, not just in technology or business, but in humanity itself.  For example, when you have your basic needs covered – food and shelter – what do you need then?  According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it is psychological needs – love, belonging, self-esteem.   This is exactly where digital plays into our hearts.  Our love and belonging is in Facebook and Baidu, which is why these are so integral to our lives today.  Then the highest level of need is self-actualisation, which is served by blogs, emails, twitter and LinkedIn.  Combined, the digital mobile world we live in today plays to our basic psychological and self-fulfilment needs, which is why it is so addictive.

Millennials spend more time interacting on their phone than with their partner, family, friends and colleagues, and most Americans think their mobile is more important than sex.  It is why we are so addicted to selfies and using the camera to stream our daily routines non-stop.  We even walk and talk differently when we have a mobile.  Research has shown that we have developed a protective shuffle when using our mobile phones whilst walking, to prevent us from bumping into obstacles, or tripping over hazards.  It is why those using phones walk slower than those who are not.

Our world is digital, and everyone is becoming a digital human.  As we transform from physical to digital, other things change too, such as how we exchange value and deal with commerce and trade.  Banks have traditionally been physical structures dealing with customers served through buildings and humans; but banks are converting to digital structures dealing with data via software and servers.  In other words, our money and trade is also becoming digital.

This is a critical change, as it reinvents the whole concept of money.  For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, more trade is moving through the mobile network than through the banks, with over half of the country‘s GDP moving through the mobile network as data.  In other emerging economies, where it was previously uneconomical to bank people due to the high costs of physical distribution, all of these populations are now gaining access to financial services thanks to digital financial inclusion.  Digital money is cheap, fast and easy, and allows all of the humans on earth to transact and trade in real-time, non-stop globally.  In other words, we are creating digital money to allow digital humans to live, work and trade.

What does this mean for you?  How will the next generation of humans live in this digitally connected world?  How will their lives look, their relationships and their trade and commerce?  More specifically, what does your life look like ten years from now?  Digital Human tells all.


“Skinner presents a compelling vision of the future of financial services expertly set in ten-thousand years of historical context”

Jesse McWaters, Project Lead, Disruptive Innovation in Financial Services, World Economic Forum

“Building upon the financial technology themes from his previous books, Chris takes you on an intellectual journey as he methodically thinks through where the technology will take us, humans, next. He imagines a new, open, banking and financial services system tailored for each one of us. He describes how financial inclusion drives innovation, and how it will change financial services as billions of people join the system. I greatly enjoyed this rare and refreshing optimistic vision in which money is implicit, the invisible digital fabric of the internet connecting new platforms and existing companies.”

Konstantin Peric, Deputy Director, Financial Services for the Poor, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

“Chris’ latest book is a tour-de-force that provides a broad sweep of the incredible changes that are impacting our industry… open banking, platforms, APIs, and machine learning, to name a few. However, it is his articulate postulation that ‘few banks are changing, and if they don’t change they will not survive’ that makes this book a MUST READ for anyone in the financial services industry. And his thoughts on the very basis of value in our economy, and how this could evolve in the fourth revolution make this a great read for the rest of us!”

Piyush Gupta, CEO, DBS

“In Digital Human, Chris Skinner challenges our notion of what it will mean to be human and the role that money and finance will play. With his follow up to Digital Bank, Skinner paints a picture of humanity’s digital future and the future is bright. As Skinner describes, with 7.5 billion people connected in real time through mobile technology, increased access and transparency have the potential to finally tear down the walls of financial exclusion.”

David Cotney, former Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks; Board Member, Cross River Bank

“Digital revolution creates the fourth age of humanity where everyone is connected and included. For the very first time we have a chance to reach and serve a financial transaction to everyone. As one of the world’s most followed voices on FinTech, Chris Skinner provides a survival guide for financial services industry and opportunity therein.”

Dr. Soner Canko - CEO, BKM

“At the risk of sounding repetitive, Digital Human is yet another must-read book from Chris Skinner. Banks, bankers, and “control freak cultures” everywhere take heed: if you don’t yet understand how your roles will diminish in the coming years, this book will make it frighteningly clear.”

Dan Dickinson, Chief Digital Officer, Equitable Bank

“Chris has a sharp eye for industry trends and cuts through a lot of noise with actionable insights, while shedding light on the alarming fact that the majority of banks’ IT budget goes to maintenance rather than innovation. If the industry dares to follow Chris’ proposed solutions: focusing on partnerships, technology outsourcing and increased collaboration we would see an unleashing of energy and innovation to the benefit of clients and society at large. As Chris puts it nicely: ‘If banks are average in doing 1000 things, are cemented to their past and are not agile enough to update daily and refresh their core regularly, they will be outsmarted by those who can. And those who can will recognise that banks are doing 1000 things mediocrely - and will naturally come together to do 1000 things brilliantly.’”

Kim Fournais, CEO and founder, Saxo Bank

“Chris Skinner has the remarkable ability to distil complex issues to their simplest form which results in a book that can be easily digested. Digital Human evolves as a one-on-one conversation as Chris describes how technology has become the equalizer in our global society. His vast experience evaluating global markets brings a real-life perspective to understanding both the history and future of digital transformation. Chris takes an approach of a fireside chat, a one-on-one conversation speaking to us in a personal way where, no matter what our experience with digital transformation, we can relate to his stories, and his honest passion to inform and educate.”

Wayne Brown, Managing Partner, The Walker Group

“Digital Human gives you a view into the future in a bold and imaginative way. Any banker the world over would benefit from Chris’ practical clarity about where the evolution of financial services will lead us.”

Chris Nichols, Chief Strategy Officer, CenterState Bank

“Buckle up, Chris Skinner helps the reader peer around the corner by examining the past, present, and future trends leading humanity down a digital path of human revolution.  Digital Human tackles the challenges of financial inclusion in a digital world struggling to assist with the plague of poverty.  The internet of things is omnipresent in Skinner’s unique journey, as digital advances are explored in the context of a human revolution and changing financial infrastructure.”

Stephen G. Andrews, Community Bank President

“If you’re a traditional banker, reading Chris Skinner’s Digital Human will feel like a SoulCycle kick-your-butt spin class — it will gut your view on traditional banking and likely freak you out on the long list of things your institution ought to do, including dumping your legacy core system. But you will walk away healthier and it will leave you with a wonderful possibility on how tech can rethink financial services into something that benefits everyone. Skinner has traveled the world and is one of the few that writes about fintech in an informed, funny and no-BS banker kind of way. Not only will you learn where the word “harlot” was originated but you will uncover the direction banks are going; namely, transforming from control freaks into open banks in a world destined to let people share their financial data where and when they want.”

Mary Wisniewski, Deputy Editor, BankThink and Reporter, American Banker

“Chris Skinner, the wise guidance of the FinTech world, takes us on a new journey with his new book Digital Human. It gives us a chance to look into the past with the light of a crystal sphere of the future. For the banks and financial players, Skinner’s crystal sphere is also a perfect bi-directional mirror that will provide a better understanding of a new world. If they would use this mirror with the guidance of Chris, it’s clear to find a path for their future or, otherwise, just turn into memories of the past.”

Ahmet Usta - Chief Editor, FinTech Istanbul

“In order to be ready for the future we should understand how the digital transformation has developed. Chris Skinner provides an in depth look into what has happened and what is happening today. It is time for all financial services industry to reimagine how to offer finance through technology in the new era. Digital Human will help you to understand digital transformation, will make you think about your business, above all, it will make you think about what you are going to face in the future.”

Özge Çelik, Senior Vice President, BKM


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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, 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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