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Imagine Intelligent Money

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I was talking about the vision of AI integrated with finance through APIs today. The vision is one where every transaction can be displayed through your devices via your apps. It’s the apps, API, AI economy.

It means that wherever you go, whatever you do, whoever you deal with and how can be drilled down into minutiae. You can see what you bought and where … that’s the easy bit. What about what you bought where, and the details of the actual product you purchased.

Today, you might get a little bit of information, such as a purchase at a store online or in a mall. You get the store name and the amount. With some apps, through Open Banking and Google API integration, you might get a picture of the store and a little more information. But what about if you could get details of every item in your shopping basket, where it came from and how sustainable it is?

Imagine the integration of Agritech, Meditech, Retailtech, Fintech and all others through Open APIs, sprinkled with AI. Imagine going to the supermarket and buying a steak, potatoes and broccoli for dinner. Imagine that you later wonder where that steak came from, how the potatoes were grown and whether the broccoli is sustainable.

Imagine opening your financial app run by your technology provider, who has integrated all of these industries through APIs. Imagine you can now look at the fact that you paid $16.75 for these foods on 11 October at 14:36 through your contactless payment system. You swipe, and it shows each of the items you purchased. You double tap each item and it shows you the provenance of the food purchased through a blockchain-based tokenized system.

It shows you how organic and sustainable each food item is through the supply chain.

Imagine being able to do this for every single item you purchase anywhere.

Well, soon, you won’t have to imagine. It’s coming.

The likelihood is that layers of information services will be laid on top, such as showing how sustainably, healthily and caring you are living your life. Forget Personal Financial Management (PFM); it will just be personal management – are you living a good life? Are you being good for society and good for the planet? What exposures do you have to bad lifestyle habits, such as alcohol consumption, vaping or smoking?

The latter is the issue with the vision outlined because you can see all of this, but so can anyone else with access to your digital footprint. Maybe they cannot see everything, but certainly a bank or government can. Or can they?

Imagine a world where all that data is yours. Imagine a world where you have your own space on the network and no-one else can access without your permission. Imagine that no-one can follow your digital footprint.

Along with many others, Tim Berners-Lee is trying to achieve that vision. He has been building a project called Solid for the last decade and it is all about decentralising the network. The concentration of everything into a few Big Tech firms is the issue. Tim wants to change that.

Speaking at the Web Summit recently, Tim made it clear that blockchain isn’t good for decentralising the internet. What you need is something else. The something else is Solid. What’s the difference? Three things:

  • A global “single sign-on” feature that lets anyone log in from anywhere.
  • Login IDs that allow users to share their data with others.
  • A “common universal API,” or application programming interface, that lets apps pull data from any source.

Right or wrong, we are moving to a world where everything is enriched by not just big data but massive data; decentralised and owned by every individual; and only accessible to banks, governments and others on a permissioned basis.

Imagine the future. Imagine the data can live as one. Oh, that sounds like Fintech Karaoke time


Imagine all the data

It's easy if you’re proud

No silo around us

Above us, only cloud

Imagine all the people

Knowing everything today


Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do

The network breaks the borders

And breaks the governments too

Imagine all the people

Living life mobile


You may say I'm a nerdy

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will be as one


Imagine all possessions

Available right now

Shop and buy everything

Even a sustainable cow


Imagine all the people

Sharing all their life


You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will live (shop?) as one



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...

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