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eToro shows why old banks just don’t get it

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It's not just AI that's hot, but there is still the metaverse, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and more. So, I’ve been friends-ish with Yoni Assia, the co-founder of eToro, for many years. The story of eToro is pretty amazing actually. If you’re not familiar with it, you can find a summary over here on Wikipedia.

I’ve loved the idea of eToro since its inception because the concept is all about social trading. If your major influencers are investing, then you should invest too. Obviously, that concept could be abused, but it’s worked pretty well so far.

Launched in 2007, it now has more than 20 million users in 140 countries[2021 stats] so, why would I be talking about them today? Well, there’s a headline that appeared in my feed that intrigued me:

eToro wants to bring its trading app to Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest headsets

In an interview with CNBC, Yoni explains how they’re trying to integrate AI, AR and VR with online trading. Bottom-line? That’s integrating intelligence with visual trading.

eToro’s experience would allow users to pick stocks to buy and sell by touching digital screens within Apple’s Vision Pro and Meta’s Quest devices. “You could actually now talk to the eToro app through the speaker [of your VR headset],” Assia said. “I don’t think a lot of people are used to talking to their mobile phone asking questions, yet.” However, Assia expects this to become more mainstream.

What he’s really talking about is intuitive and simplistic finance and trading, which resonates with me. Right now, finance and trading has become incredibly complete and difficult. By way of example, my bank has blocked my account because I have some crypto assets and, under regulatory rules, they want more details. It’s a real pain in the butt.

So, this brings us back to the never-ending story of the balance between the ease of access versus the stringent rules of oversight.

In reality, this is something that traditional banks really do not understand. They are so afraid of AML and fines from the regulators that they just operate a simplistic go or no-go regime. You are either OK or not OK.

This is the biggest challenge in this world of the metaverse and artificial intelligence. How can you deliver a great user experience in a virtual world that complies with all the rules, risks and requirements of the traditional system?

My sense is that traditional banks have no frickin’ idea, based upon the recent interactions with my bank around cryptocurrencies and crypto assets. They really do not understand them, particularly at a retail level. You talk to their customer service staff who tell you it has been referred to an expert who has no idea of what you’re talking about.

That’s why companies like eToro, Wise, PayPal and others will win. At least they understand the technology.

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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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