Fintech Insider: After Dark III - The Christmas Special, 2017 Round-up

 Laura Watkins photo
Laura Watkins Executive Producer
5min read

Our third After Dark event was a our 2017 wrap up Christmas Special – a festive fintech event, looking back on the last year in the industry, and looking forward to 2018, with some very special guests, and the return of the Fintech Wall of Emoji!

Tuesday 12th December was our last After Dark 2017, and our biggest live audience at WeWork Aldgate yet! As such we decided to change up the format, and instead of our usual news show, we put together a year in review, giving our live audience a bumper bonanza of banking and fintech news across the whole of 2017. It was also our Christmas Special, complete with festive decorations, our Christmas photo booth and fantastic festive fancy dress. Listen to the full episode here. Hosts David Brear, Jason Bates, Simon Taylor and Chris Skinner were joined by special guests Sarah Kocianski and Leda Glyptis to look back at the biggest stories from 2017, with help some very knowledgeable commentators in the audience on certain stories. [caption id="attachment_64419" align="alignnone" width="1200"] (From L-R) Simon Taylor, Sarah Kocianski, David M Brear, Jason Bates, Leda Glyptis, Chris Skinner[/caption]

2017 Year in Review - January- June

We kicked off with a look back of the first 6 months of 2017. Back in January 2017, Mark Carney warned us that the fintech “boom” could go bust if left unchecked, seemingly he was wrong. We focused on Lemonade's record breaking claim review in 3 seconds, with a comment from Deloitte's Nigel Walsh on whether or not we should believe the hype surrounding Lemonade, as InsurTech's biggest success story to date. February brought the first proposal a series of changes to US banking regulations known as Dodd Frank, Monzo reached its series C funding round but the main story up we chose is the Co-op bank being put up for sale, following massive losses and scandal with its chairman. March brought us challenger bank outages as Revolut, Monzo Starling Bank, Loot, Curve, Pockit were all hit - and over 50% of our audience were affected. However the significance was how these new challengers were able to adapt and effectively manage their communications and reassure their customers about the causes and resolution of the outages. In April it was announced that Fintech was now worth £7bn to Britain’s economy, Monzo gets its full banking licence and smashes its funding round and some records along the way while Alipay and WeChat combined reach $2.9 trillion in online payments. But what got us talking most on Fintech Insider was the news that joined the board of Atom Bank as an advisor. We asked our audience what they thought, opinions were mixed and no one was quite sure what Will.iam has yet done for Atom, but David Brear made it his mission for 2018 to get Will. on the show to answer that very question. Help get behind the campaign! In May there was a ransomware cyber attack that hit 99 countries around the world including systems such as airlines and our NHS, throwing into chaos everything from major operations to air traffic control. Meanwhile in China, Ping An launched a dedicated $1 BILLION fund just for fintech innovation and investment.But the story we wanted to focus on was Open Banking, which is going to be a huge focus in 2018, and in particular, BBVA’s Open Banking Business that launched in May. Alexa Fernandez, Director of Fintech Partnerships at BBVA gave us a few words on what Open Banking means for BBVA and the steps they've taken already to get ahead of the legislation to make things easier for their partners and their customers. In June this year, Zelle launched in the US, Klarna got its full banking licence and the FCA kicked off their second sandbox. The biggest story of the month however was Stateside: the proposed Dodd Frank repeals caused a few shock waves back in February but by June the actual legislation was published for review, outlining what the repeals would entail. Chris Skinner and commentator Liz Lumley helped pick this one apart, what it means for the banks and the customer and if it is as bad as we previously thought.

The Festive Fintech Wall of Emoji

We couldn't let an After Dark pass without a reprise of the Fintech Wall of Emoji, this time with a Christmas theme. With some help from Mr Emojipedia himself, Jeremy Burge, we took a look at our Christmas themed emojis, recapped all of the previous phrases and concepts from the last two shows, to see if anyone had any strong views on whether they should move categories. David, backed up by Sharon O'Dea moved Apple Pay from "nauseous face" to sit between "raised hands" and "thinking face" emoii. We also got help from our audience for 5 new concepts:
  • {a} fintech got funding
  • Alipay does a thing
  • Open Banking
  • Bitcoin Prices
  • Cryptokitties Check out the final curated wall below to see where the new phrases ended up!

Christmas Charity Campaign - House of St Barnabas

In the name of Christmas spirit, we were also pleased to help Comms for Good kick off a charity fundraising campaign for the House of St Barnabas, a not for profit members club which helps get the homeless off the street and back into work. Kate Bolton, from Comms for Good helped kick off the campaign, raising awareness of the good work the charity does, and launching the campaign with Bud, Fintech Finance and Fintech Insider, to try to raise £5000 to help give someone struggling a second chance. With the help of Kate and her team and some nifty contactless gadgets we are pleased to say that our generous audience helped us raise over £1000 just on the night! To help get behind the cause and help us reach the £5000 fundraising target, check out our dedicated donations page.

2017 Year in Review - July- December

Back in July this year, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk clashed over AI, UK card payments overtake cash for the first time; Revolut raised $66m in their Series B fundraising; Curve launched their “time travel” initiative, allowing you to switch the card you paid with retroactively (and raises £10M in series A); and Starling launched Apple Pay integration. But the main story this month was the launch of Monzo’s current account. After a long wait and an even longer waiting list, (some) Monzo customers finally got their hands on a real current account and could say goodbye to the prepaid card. Monzo's own Hugo Cornejo was in the audience to give us some words on Monzo's plans for the current account going into 2018. August welcomed the rise in token sales, ICO funding topped $1.6bn - even as the SEC deem tokens & ICOs can be securities and regulated accordingly in first regulation movement. Likewise Bitcoin forked and created Bitcoin Cash. But our main story for this month that got a lot of people talking was Tandem Bank's unexpected revival with the purchase of Harrods Bank and their banking licence to boot. Following on the heels of the previous month’s ICO rampage, in September a lot of celebrities began to endorse ICOs (notably Paris Hilton and Jamie Foxx) while the PBOC declares ICOs illegal and then bans bitcoin from Chinese exchanges. JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon slams bitcoin as fraud and the Equifax hack is exposed. All a crazy amount of activity. Our main focus was on Starling's Marketplace launch. Back in May at Fintech Insider Live, Megan Caywood announced that this would be coming and in September it launched. Unfortunately Megan Caywood was ill and could not join us but Starling's Ben Chisell stepped into her shoes last minute to give us a comment on the Marketplace and Starling's future plans. October saw South Korea also banning token sales, David Cameron took a job with a US payments firm, and Revolut’s founder had some divisive comments about their “get shit done” culture. This month’s biggest story was an under the radar success as Oak North hit unicorn status, and we heard from Oak North's Head of Marketing and PR, Valentina Kristensen. With Oak North's success and bringing SME lending to the forefront of discussion we also heard from Richard Davies, formerly of HSBC (and Oak North), soon to be TSB about the importance of SME lending and catering to this previously underserved market sector going forward. November saw Monzo become a chat up line in London’s bars, according to Mashable, Revolut applied for a European Banking licence ahead of Brexit, The Verge published a tech survey where Americans trust their banks only slightly more than Amazon, and Alibaba’s Singles Day payments sets record with $8.4bn spent in first hour. But, the story we wanted to focus on was: Nivaura issued the first bond on Ethereum. We heard from Nivaura COO Vic Arulchandran about what this means for Ethereum and bonds on smart contracts. Finally, rounding off the year, newspapers are saying high street banks are becoming an “endangered species” as more banks close, the FCA launch their third sandbox including both fintechs and traditional banks, but the biggest story of all has to be the stratospheric price increase of bitcoin! Not only that but at the exact same time bitcoin was going through the roof, Revolut launched their cryptocurrency exchange app. Chad West, Head of Comms at Revolut gave us a thought piece on their app and why they believe it's important to allow people to buy into cryptoassets easily and simply.

Thanks to all our listeners for their support

And that concluded our round-up of 2017. It's been an incredible year for the industry and 11:FS and Fintech Insider in particular. We had a fantastic evening and a great year which we couldn't have done without the support of our listeners. Special thanks to our brilliant live audience on the night for supporting us, especially as we had a few technical difficulties on the night. It was great to chat to so many of our listeners after the show, to get our network community together in one place and to put faces to names from Fintech Insider News. Here's to a fantastic 2018! To listen back to the episode in full head here. To ensure you never miss an episode, subscribe to Fintech Insider now!
 Laura Watkins
About the author

Laura Watkins

Heading up the 11:FS media team, Laura leads 11:FS' content creation from the Fintech Insider podcast to video documentary series and live events to make financial services more accessible to everyone.