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EBAday 2024: Tokenisation and digital identity will lead banking evolution

EBAday 2024: Tokenisation and digital identity will lead banking evolution

At EBAday 2024 in Lisbon, after a buzzing morning of introductions and a keynote to set up the themes for the rest of the conference, David Birch presented a challenge speech titled ‘Digital Money, Digital Assets, Digital Identity: The Future of Banking’.

The beauty of the challenge speech is that is will be a challenge for the speaker to convince the audience and for the audience to trust his opinion, Birch quipped before diving into his presentation. Birch stated that decentralised finance is going to dominate banking evolution, that tokens are what the next generation will be using for transactions.

“Tokenisation will be driven by money people not technology people, and as it will be vastly cheaper, it will drive more liquidity into that space.”

Birch explained that digital identity will be significant in the future of financial market infrastructure, but first resilience needs to be established in European payments.

He outlined the significance of fungible and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the near future: “Fungible tokens are the future of payments (as long as they're important to you), and non-fungible tokens are the future of property. If you want a simple explanation of what the decentralised finance is; decentralised finance protocols simply exchange those tokens.

“So we have this burgeoning token, and in that token economy, we see the new financial infrastructure being built. You can see the steps towards this. We're in the stage now where people are doing the initial experiments. We're looking towards interoperability, and soon as we will see this new financial market infrastructure growing where ledgers are coming up.”

He argued that CBDC is would provide further resilience to the European banking system, specifically pointing to wholesale and machine CBDCs for efficient supply chains.

Birch opined on comments from the previous panel, stating that CBDC regulation needs to be more resilient and therefore needs to be a separate infrastructure, not building on an older, or existing one.

Commenting on the UK strategy for CBDCs, he joked that the company has no long-term strategy for that, payments, or anything really, but pointed out that as the Bank of England believes a digital pound to be crucial, that it will be. “That being said, we don’t need it tomorrow,” he added, noting that working on a efficient, high-quality, working digital currency is more important than receiving it as soon as possible.

Coming back to digital identity, Birch stated that digital identity needs to be built to facilitate CBDC, and that there are often misunderstanding of what digital identity is. He says that digital identity is not a scan of your drivers license or passport, digital identity is interactive, smart, and built specifically for the digital; it is likely to change every single day.

“We don't want to digitise identity. We want a to make a digital identity that is dynamic.

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