For the Future of Money session Innotribe moved to the main conference hall where the room filled up fast and left standing room only. For the people that couldn’t come into the hall a TV screen was added outside for the session to be streamed live. This was amazing to see and highlighted the fact that the future of money is a highly topical subject and people in financial services were interested in finding out what people had to say. The session was moderated by Udayan Goyal, Founder and Managing Director of Anthemis Group and Chris Skinner, chairman and CEO of the Financial Services Club.
This session ran last year in Toronto and by the number of people in the room it was still a very popular topic. The question was asked of the audience “Do we need companies like SWIFT and their core infrastructures to process payments?” The theme for the session was to compare trains to the banking industry; an interesting concept. The trains run on tracks, so do we need the tracks to run the trains or do we build our own tracks and make our own way.
Paul Wilmore, Managing Director, Barclaycard US talked about the use of social media to create communities around financial products and how engagement with customers could be the potential key to innovation. “People think differently and are continually coming up with new models which companies should be taking notice of and reacting to them.”
Vipul Shah, MD, Product Strategy Executive T&SS, J.P. Morgan continued the theme of customer engagement and asked the question, who wins in the digital revolution, in which he answered that “we all win”. He then stated that the community around us is important and we should harness the power of the community and keep it simple when developing products, and listen to what people have to say.
Yoni Assia, Founder and CEO, Etoro took to the stage with energy and delivered a mini presentation about Etoro and how it’s accessible via Facebook and how he is proud of the fact that he provides openness to his site and people can see all activity of any trader and act upon it. He jumped on Vipul’s point about harnessing the community but said “Gen Y is who we should be watching as over the next two years they will transform the way people use the internet.” Quite a statement but the audience seemed to agree with him.
Last but definitely not least was a young guy Eli Gothill, Research Technologist, Webisteme. He’s created a Twitter based currency called PunkMoney where people can make deals over the web at a very small transaction cost. You publicly promise a favour in exchange for a service, terms must be stipulated, then the web records the transaction and your public reputation guarantees the transaction. A simple idea but one that could be the future of money!
To sum up the lively debate, engaging with customers is the way forward and the banking industry needs to embrace the changes that are happening. Most of the audience agreed that we still need the tracks (infrastructure) that have already been established by the banking industry but everything else will need to change and develop, so the trains (banks) will need to adapt to stay ahead.