Chris Skinner's blog

Shaping the future of finance

Is the world being democratised through technology?

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Someone told me I should start a travel blog, as I fly more than most pigeons do. True. But I’m not sure my travel blog would be read so much. However, it does make me reflect on travel and money. Some countries are still reliant on cash whilst others are cashless. I go to the Nordic region and most countries take card and contactless payments everywhere. Try that in Italy and Russia and it’s not so easy. Cash still rules. Meantime, go to many African nations and mobile is ubiquitous, as it is in China and may other nations. In the USA, try to make a mobile payment is ok, but cash and card works far better. It’s a real mixture of experiences and every country is different.

The reason for making this point is that many pundits forecast the end of cash and the death of bank branches, but you cannot generalise. Not every nation is the same. In fact, every nation is different in culture, attitude and outlook and even with the euro, you cannot expect European banking and money to be the same, as illustrated by the differences between the Nordics and Southern Europe.

This is why banking and FinTech needs to be nuanced to realise everyone’s situation, not just the one you live in.

However, one of the biggest changes is what is happening with mobile payments. The mobile network includes everyone. Someone called me out on this and said that not everyone has a mobile phone. My answer is that everyone has access to a mobile phone if they need one. The mobile phone is now more ubiquitous than toothbrushes and toilets, and so if you need to use one, I’m pretty sure you can find one. Once you do, you can trade and transact as well as talk sometimes.

This is why the mobile technologies and ecosystem fascinate me so much, as it’s creating inclusion for all. Along with this are other technologies like Distributed Ledgers, which are democratising the world.

That’s an interesting conversation in and of itself. Is the world being democratised through technology? Is technology removing central powers and centralised authorities, and putting power in the hands of the people?

I know many who believe this is the case but I’m not one of them. Power is always held by those who have it, and power is consolidated by those who want to keep it. Breaking the powerbase is not necessarily going to happen with technology. But inclusion is.

In other words, you have two friction forces working together with technology: those who are driving inclusion of all and those who believe this will democratise the world.

Which force do you hold with and which is true? Does the mobile network give everyone on Earth opportunity or does it still allow the governments and powermongers to hold force?

I guess we will have to wait and see how it plays out. Many believed that the Arab Spring showed the true power of the network to democratise the world and yet many now say that the Arab Spring was the worst thing that could have happened.

What is the future?

A future utopia, where everyone is equal; or a future dystopia, where cybercrime rules?

Ah shoot. It’s a Monday morning and I’m getting all philosophical and challenging. Time for Money 2020. See y’all in Vegas!

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

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...

Intelligent Money: Our Future Is Where We Do Not Think About Money, As Our Money Thinks For Us

What is the future?

Learn more

Learn more about Chris

About Chris Skinner

The Past, Present And Future Of Banking, Finance And Technology

Fintech expert Chris Skinner: countries need digital transformation to remain competitive

Join me on Linkedin

Follow Me on X!

Hire Chris Skinner for dinners, workshops and more

Learn directly from from one of the most influential people in technology, gain insights from the world's most innovative companies, and build a global network.

Chris’s latest book

Order now

Chris Skinner’s ‘Digital For Good’ Book Launch Event – CFTE

Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on FinTech 2023

Chris Skinner
Commentator, CEO of The Finanser and best-selling author at The Finanser

Thinkers360 Thought Leader

Contact Me

Global Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award

Global 100 - 2024 Winner

Chris Skinner - Financial Markets Advisor of the Year - The Finanser - UK 2023

Best Financial Markets Advisor of the Year 2023

30 Best Regtech Blogs and Websites 2023

Kids creating the future bank | TEDxAthens

Captain Cake and the Candy Crew

Captain Cake Winner of a Golden Mom’s Choice Award


Alex at the Financial Services

Gaping Void's Hugh MacLeod worked with the Finanser