This year’s Sibos in Geneva wrapped its first day with more
innovation than ever. The buzzwords which dominated this year; were 'The Three Ds' Digitisation, Disruption, and the newly minted Distributed (Ledger).
Where now for FinTech?
The crowd for the ‘Blockchain 101’ session learnt how ancient clay tablets became the encrypted distributed ledgers in use today for geo-stamping car insurance apps and stock trades. Many of us inaccurately use the term blockchain technologies, to mean Distributed
Ledgers. Right on trend, this year’s Sibos keynote unveiled the winners of its distributed
ledger competition from London and San Francisco.
The FinTech buzz means more banking app users. These channels, however, require user interfaces to rival popular ‘native digital’ apps such as Google, Amazon and Facebook, because soon they will compete directly with banks under regulations advocated by
the Open Banking Working Group.
A session featuring ‘traditional’ banks, Spain’s BBVA and Denmark’s Danske Bank; looked at the changes required. The audience, of mainly traditional bankers, believed digital teams within banks will catch up.
The issue of too many banking apps on our phones was dismissed by a major bank, who explained, “I hope we do not go too far into standardisation of apps, because it is the differences that create innovation. Some of these FinTech providers need to fail.”
There was a hint the major banks may acquire those who survive.
A more human future
Natural selection was also the subject of the Sibos Innotribe ‘Future of Money’ presentation featuring leading minds from academia, established banks and startups. Robo-advisers and the Internet of Things were on the agenda, as well as a feeling IT Security
professionals could learn much from nature.
IT Security was seen as addressing the wrong problem because breaches were inevitable and therefore a predictable risk. The solution? A blend of online and human intervention, organic systems.
These future banking systems would not attempt the impossible by trying to win the arms race with well-funded hackers. Rather they would work more like the human immune system, which accepts and fights off the flu, in most humans, every year. Financial institutions
it seems should accept their core systems will always be vulnerable.
Blockchains of course also exist in nature, in the form of DNA code. So, when it comes to innovation there is a lot to be learnt from Mother Nature. She is unarguably distributed and disruptive and just like Sibos, her best features are distinctly digital.