This Inspiration Session featured two guest speakers. The first was Jeni Mundy, a Managing Director at Visa in the UK & Ireland, presenting on the topic of “payments at the heart of the digital economy.” Jeni shared information regarding the rapid growth of the digitalization of payment. In 12 weeks during the pandemic, Visa saw its e-commerce share of retail sales increase as much as it had in the previous ten years. Visa will continue to put an increased focus on open banking and the inclusion of digital currencies. Jeni also shared possible pros and cons of open finance changing the banking industry; consumers will be given more choice, visibility, and transparency, but there are serious concerns of data privacy, what is the right way for business to balance privacy consent from consumers and frictionless interactions? More questions from project members include: 

  • How can open banking be expanded amongst other countries? 
  • How does the decline of cash interaction create exclusion and inequality?
  • How does data protection policy on a country-to-country basis affect open banking?

The second speaker was Chris Crespo, from Fast Forward Banking, presenting the subject “future of financial services,” and value exchange. Highlights from the presentation centered around discussion of the increasing commonality and acceptance of cryptocurrencies. Chris shared the possibility of consumers choosing what economic ecosystems they want to be a part of as many forms of value continue to emerge. Leading questions and concerns from project members include: 

  • When there is no central authority to appeal to, how can systems of value be held accountable to error? 
  • How can we mitigate the risk of techno totalitarianism? How do we keep emerging companies honest with their intentions? 
  • Can trust be enforced by technology — we do not trust politicians, journalists, bankers; who do we trust? Is Machine learning the answer? 
  • Should tax authorities in emerging markets have access to consumer data handled by a global entity like Visa related to transactions in the gig economy? 
  • Why are central organizations banning currencies they don’t understand?