Fintech for Breakfast (CSFI, September 2019)

Last week I went to the CSFI breakfast event and it was great. I’ve been to a CSFI event before (I was one of the panellists), but it was a different format back then.

Last week we went through a document of web links and discussed each one. It was much more interesting than it sounds. Jemima Kelly, the FT journalist who wrote many of those articles was one of the panellists.

Facebook Libra

What’s in it for anyone except for Facebook? (Left unanswered but with some good points made:

  1. It could be extremely disruptive and put massive pressure on the big currencies, making them look volatile.
  2. Governments will try to squash it – and if they do, Facebook might use this as an opportunity to show that it’s not evil.
  3. Facebook needs to find another revenue stream other than marketing, this might be the first.
  4. It’s simply/ only an ETF on Fiat currencies).


Countries can regulate them as much as they want. However there will always be other countries which have less regulation. The money will move to the latter ones. At the moment it’s Malta – which sounded very dodgy indeed!

Payment companies & challenger banks

A clear consensus in the room that we are in a stock market bubble. Valuations for the banks are excessive. Evidence shows under 40% of challenger bank accounts are dormant.

Challenger banks should be reporting MAUs like other internet companies” – I liked that suggestion! Klarna made $10m profit last year and is worth $5.5bn. Ikea has just implemented Klarna and this might help grow that revenue number. China and Indian investments are so big that they are often left out of graphs and stats because it would skew them even more.


A recent review of 33 projects in the last 4 years showed over a third never got past testing. Capital markets and banking sectors’ investment in Blockchain projects reached £1.7bn last year


The migration from cash to electronic is accelerating, especially in China. The industry figures & personal experiences in the room from people who have visited China recently were astounding.

Japan is still “addicted to” cash and so there is a massive opportunity for its banks to move to digital payments. Japan wants to go cashless ready for the Olympics next year.

Apple & Goldman Sachs

Discussion around how clever it was for GS to launch Marcus (savings) just before the Apple Card announcement. Is this a clever, long-term customer retention strategy?

India’s odd investment strategy

Why did the Indian government allow foreign companies to come and take control of the cashless payments industry? The payment industry in India is a very large pie currently shared by Alipay, Tencent, Google Pay, PayPal and WhatsApp.

Where’s the homegrown tech talent in that list?

Click here for the full list of web links we covered.

If you’re interested in CSFI, contact them here. Endava is a corporate supporter.

And finally, the session started with some scene setting. “The World is as close to a nuclear war as it’s ever been with the US pulling out of the cold-war INF nuclear treaty in August”. What a great way to start the day!

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