Speaking Topics

I’ve updated my “speaker kit” for 2020/21 in the light of the current situation so I hope that you and your organisation will find one of these featured topics are interesting and will contact my agent Jay Kemp at Provoke Management to book me for your next webinar, workshop, event, wedding, barmitzvah or lecture series. Here we go…

Featured Topics 2020/21

Financial Services after COVID-19
Challenges and Opportunities

This talk draws on recent experiences advising a board level in Europe, North America and Asia to explore the impact of the pandemic on the payments industry. The analysis exploits a simple high level model of financial institutions to facilitate communication between business and technology groups to look at the impact of the virus and examine some early evidence of longer-term change, and goes to suggest some key fintech/regtech areas of opportunity. I touch on subjects including open banking, liquidity, digital identity, government stimulus, contact-free services, cashlessness, omnichannel access and fraud protection.


Will Robots Need Passports?
Digital identity in an age of cyberwar

A quarter of a century ago, on the internet nobody knew you were a dog. Now they don’t know if you’re a fridge pretending to be a dog. Pretty soon they won’t know if you’re a North Korean bot pretending to be a Japanese fridge pretending to be an American dog. In a world of fake identities and fake news, where it is your nanny cam and your newsfeed getting hacked not your credit card, we need to accept that trying to digitise identity hasn’t worked and we need to start creating a new kind of identity for the new digital age instead. We need to stop trying to import those analogue identity models, rooted in Industrial Age bureaucratic hacks to deal with urban anonymity and develop notions of identity for a digital age.

This is not a technical talk to teach someone how to write computer software about identity. This is an attempt to build an overarching narrative about identity in the digital age. It is a narrative that I hope will bring together policy makers, regulators, entrepreneurs and technologists to form and deliver the identity we need for our new digital world where robots and everything else will have passports because they have identities, relationships and reputations. What those robots won’t have, of course, is the one crucial stamp in their passports that we will have in ours: IS_A_PERSON. To advertisers, to journalists, to voters, to shopkeepers and to others, this credential will become the essential prerequisite for the most important transactions.

Please also see the forthcoming book to be published next year, Will Robots Need Passports?


The Currency Cold War
Control over digital money is about more than transaction fees

The Dollar’s dominance gives America the ability to exert soft power through the International Monetary and Financial System (IMFS). A serious implication of replacing existing monetary arrangements with new infrastructure based on digital currency is that this power might be constrained. Whether you think it might be a good thing or not, you need to think about what it means for you, your business and your country. In this talk I will try to set out the economic and technological imperatives, discuss the potential impact on the IMFS and highlight a series of tensions—between public and private, and (most importantly) between East and West—to contribute to the necessary high-level debate that we must have to begin to shape the IMFS of the near-future. And I’ll try to make a few positive suggestions about a national digital currency strategy.

Please also see the accompanying book, The Currency Cold War.


Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin
The future of money is more like its past

This talk is about the future of money. More specifically, it centres on the idea that technology might be taking money back to its past, back to a more local and diverse version of money than we are used to. It explores the interplay between the technological evolutionary tree of money and its social context, and brings in ideas from the social sciences in conjunction with technology forecasting to create an informed view of where technology is taking moneyGiven that this direction of travel is broadly towards decentralization, distribution and an overall lessening of state power, it is possible to bring input from disciplines including social anthropology and the study of ‘palaeo- futures’ (that is, what people used to think about the future) to make an informed and, I hope, surprising prediction about the future of money. This is that we will return to the multiple, overlapping community monies of the past but that they will be smart monies, monies with values, monies that know about us.

Please also see the accompanying book, Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin.


Identity is the New Money
What is digital identity (and why it should be a banking business)

Many years ago, my work advising the payment organisations led me to begin to wonder what the advances in transaction technologies (the internet, mobile phones, smart cards and so forth) might mean. With the support of my colleagues at Consult Hyperion, I set about creating the Digital Money Forum and, subsequently, the Digital Identity Forum, in order to bring together a wide range of experts to explore the technological, business and social changes. It became clear that the two topics were converging and in time all of the events, blogs and podcasts were gradually merged into the Tomorrow’s Transactions thought-leadership blog, podcast, annual forum and “unconference” series held in the UK and North America. The discussions, observations and reflections that stemmed from those forums (that ran for two decades!) form the core of this book and its central claim:  the future of money is linked to the future of identity.

We need to reformulate technical, business and, above all, social strategies for dealing with identity in the “new economy”. This book is an attempt to explain why. It also suggests one or two significant implications for policy makers and others. My argument is, in short, that the new economy and new society that we are building on top of it demand a new way of thinking about identity, and a new way of thinking about money – and that the two converge..

Please also see the accompanying book, Identity is the New Money.


Other Topics

If you want a talk about the early lessons from open banking, the history of money, innovation in financial services, how to teach your kids at home using Dungeons and Dragons or how to find inner peace through the music of Hawkind, then I’m your man….