Retrospective: BarcampBank London 2012

Written by Daniel Gusev

I missed the time to share my natal experiences with BarcampBank London that first happened for me in January 2011 – and now trying to compensate by sharing my experience on my second #BCBL – that was held by Consult Hyperion on February 6th, 2012.

As a tradition (BCBL is by itself a tradition – as it was held for a 5th time) the venue was graciously provided by NESTA (a UK innovation and development focused NGO) – and the even has gathered a usual bunch of addicts and geeks, all interested in money-wise, identity-wise, social, technological and Internet driven acts – and in how these things shape the day of tomorrow.

The day was off with a speech by Dave Birch, who is the uber-geek on payments and identity(and as I get it today, these are the foundational elements of any financial relationship – and personal too J ). Last year he proposed to us to think and create a future where we can witness a better life by under-banked population (or see none of them due to them becoming «banked»). This year the pep talk was about the future of money in general.

When hearing this type of questions, one might refer to known solutions, where here the outcome was quite the opposite: «Think wide and think different»: quipped Dave and that actually was the best advice he could give.

People started to view the goal at hand in a more abstract way and assess the context of the relationship between a person and money / financial services – and that offered a good glimpse into a number of next-gen and emerging technologies / frameworks and products.

Attendees inscribed ideas on PostIt notes (allegedly adding a good portion of 3M revenues on that day) and these were after dissected and grouped based on a trending topic of these ideas – contributing to at least 12 general topics, under the banner of which work-groups were formed.


Among these were the ones discussing theoretical phenomena of «banking API», «the world without POS terminals» (easy, because you have mobile), «world without money» (easy, because everything can be currency), «world of alternative currencies (carbon emissions currencies, currencies linked to social reputation), practical cases: «how to start a bank» (the work stopped and then progressed from a question «what is a bank?»), «how to shot a movie starring money in a key role» (sadly went around intimate relationships), Banking APIs (there is a growing number of initiatives exposing banking services as Web services, and even a standardized API format for Germany FIs).


It all may sound eerie for big bankers, but not anymore for ecosystem, that is in effect eclipsing banking, adding it up, upgrading, contextualizing, rendering it in a «dumb pipe» business. I would agree with Aden on the point of stopping to call banks «dumb pipes» – because there is a way to name them smart pipes (a topic of another conference that happened during February, on which I about to do a short post too).


You can find useful a great post by Aden Davies, who’ve delved a bit more deeply in several topics that were covered in this successful event, that I enjoyed and look forward to participate next time.

About the author

Daniel Gusev

Daniel Gusev describes himself as a payments geek, innovation practitioner, and startup amateur. He is the founder of FinFit, co-founder of, and a mentor for Startupbootcamp FinTech.

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