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And what happens when digital fails?

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I have another concern about digitalisation, which is what happens if you’re knocked off the grid? What happens if you lose your password? What happens if the company does not recognise you? What happens when someone takes over your persona? What happens when your balance of six figures is suddenly zero?

OK, sure. These things just won’t happen, will they? Urmmm … oh, they do!

I was thinking about this because of an article shared Terence Eden who, like me, is a digital troublemaker. Terence had a housefire which led to being locked out of his digital life.

Lightning struck our house and burned it down. I escaped wearing only my nightclothes.

In an instant, everything was vaporised … this presents something of a problem.

In order to recover my digital life, I need to be able to log in to things. This means I need to know my usernames (easy) and my passwords (hard). All my passwords are stored in a Password Manager. I can remember the password to that. But logging in to the manager also requires 2FA (two-factor authentication) which is generated by my phone … I am in cyclic dependency hell. To get my passwords, I need my 2FA. To get my 2FA, I need my passwords.

Luckily, this does not happen to many of us. But identity theft does. Scamming does. Phishing does.

In all instances, we are revealing our lives digitally which, if we’re not careful, should be kept secret.

How many usernames and passwords do you have? How many have been compromised? How many can be accessed by those who should not access?

I know in my case that, having been on the network since the last century, there’s over two decades of usernames and passwords out there. I know that I like to keep it simple – you need to be able to remember it. The trouble is that making something memorable means that it rapidly become compromised. That’s why we have 2FA and, as demonstrated by Terence, you can sink into 2FA hell.

So, what’s the answer? Biometrics? DNA? Spit and blood?

I don’t know tbh. You need security. The question is: how much security? Just enough? Too much? The balance is hard and, a bit like yesterday’s blog about digital being a little underwhelming, we have to ensure that our path is clear and confident.

Personally, my favourite position is to have a cold wallet. Keep everything offline in a secure hard drive. But what happens if you lose the hard drive?

Man seeks to excavate landfill that allegedly has half a billion dollars’ worth of bitcoin

Well, I guess the real answer is to just to keep al of your valuables under a mattress then …


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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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