Chris Skinner's blog

Shaping the future of finance

The role of an infomediary

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Years ago, I was writing about the role of an infomediary. The idea was that there should be a broker between customer’s data and their service providers. Unfortunately, that role has become four companies for those in the Americas and two for those in Asia: Amazon, Facebook (Meta), Google (Alphabet), Twitter (Block), Tencent and Alibaba.

What was the original idea is that consumers would have their data and would sell it; instead, consumers have sold their data for free services. If the service is free, you are the product. Can we get it back?

There are many saying we can, we should, and we will. But will the owners of our data allow it? I don’t think so … unless the government says so.

The issue here is around the value of data. If your data is valuable, who should own it? how should they use it? who gives them the authority to use it? and how do you manage this structure?

Again, I’ve said for quite a while that banks could be data vaults, brokering data on behalf of users. They could be the infomediaries. Instead, we’ve sleep-walked into a world where the data brokers are big tech firms who give us no value back for our data, apart from their free services.

What if that world changed?

As we talk about a decentralised world of services, the user could end up with their own decentralised data bank. Even just using that phrase decentralised data bank makes me realise that we are facing a world of data banks.

Data banks.

Who owns my data bank?

There are three contenders: the big tech firms who give me free services; an infomediary who brokers my data for me; and me, myself, I.

Who is the best owner of my data bank?

Me, myself, I, obvs. But then we can have delegation of authority. I can give my data to Amazon to get better access to products and services; I can allocate my data to an infomediary to intermediate my data value and monetize it; I can keep my data to myself to avoid interventions.

Between data banks and digital identities, we have the same issue. The issue? We have not managed this process. We have instead allowed a natural evolution of corporate activity to leverage data and identity with little oversight or regulation.

Now, when I talk a Big Regression, governments are trying to wind the clock back to catch up. They’ve realised that the big tech firms have taken over too much control of citizens’ identities and data, and they need to bring it back. After all, the danger is that if you lose control and lose management of citizens, you lose governance and the ability to control.

There’s a fascinating battle taking place here between citizens, corporations, big tech and government. The battle is all about who owns the data. Who should own the data? Me, myself, I.

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...

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

Digital Transformation Programme

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.

Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on FinTech 2022

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

Thinkers360 Thought Leader

Contact Me

Best Financial Services Blogger

Chris’s latest book

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

Global Awards

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

Best CEO of the Year UK 2022

Best Digital Finance Provider of the Year UK 2022

Best Financial Markets Adviser of the Year UK 2022

Portal to the Knowledge Base of the Financial Services Club UK 2022

Financial Markets Advisor of the Year UK 2022

Corporate America Today Annual Awards

Best Financial Markets Adviser of the Year UK 2022

Portal to the Knowledge Base of the Financial Services Club UK 2022

Financial Markets Advisor of the Year UK 2022

Nominee of MAD33 2021

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

Kids creating the future bank | TEDxAthens

Join me on Linkedin

Follow Me on Twitter!

UK’s most influential person in technology

Captain Cake and the Candy Crew

Captain Cake Winner of a Golden Mom’s Choice Award


TheNextWeb – #tnw

Learn more about Chris

About Chris Skinner

Presentation at ZBP, September 2020, Warsaw, Poland

Alex at the Financial Services

Gaping Void's Hugh MacLeod worked with the Finanser

What is the future?

Learn more