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Barcamps are a great resource of knowledge and valuable contacts. Period. So we made our way to London last weekend to attend the 8th BarCampBank London. We had already seen that there weren’t too many people signed up for the event and ultimately this left us with a total of 12 participants for the day. While the group was rather small, it allowed for extraordinarily detailed and passionate discussions to take place. A bar camp, as opposed to a more formal conference, allows for more individual participation and brings up side topics that are often neglected but help understanding the big picture. If you haven’t been to one, you should go look up where the next one is happening in your area. Here’s a brief summary of what was talked about at BarCampBankLondon8 and some links for you to get further information on the topics. Please note that the website’s content linked to may contain views not supported by FinTech Weekly.

LET system

Local Exchange Trading Systems (and Complementary Currencies) have been around for quite some time in history. Not only did and do they offer relief in times of economic hardship but can pose a permanent alternative to existing currencies and payment systems for specific groups of people. One of the participants has been involved in managing a LETS in and around London for more than 20 years and offered us interesting insights into the community and how the system is administered, including the sign-up process and the first steps to be taken (and which not to). The systems have some restrictions regarding the size of the community and rely heavily on trust. Being democratically organized and coexisting with established currency systems, LETS have many commonalities with blockchain systems and have the potential to complement each other. If you want to know more about it, go to: http://www.letslinkuk.net/index.htm http://www.letseurope.info/

Authentication and Security

The most entertaining title of the day was „Biometrics - and other tales from the curious world of security“. Security obviously is an increasingly important matter with e.g. mobile financial services gaining momentum. We discussed the upsides and downsides of video authentication above all other topics. Combined with, for example, systems that amplify the red color spectrum to make sure the person making the video really has a pulse (which could be done by combining it with the smart measuring your pulse), the systems can already today deliver an extremely high level of security. A truly fascinating topic that is worth following closely.

The Blockchain

Finding ways to make efficient use of the blockchain is a hot topic, as the blockchain certainly has found its way into payments to some extent already, but still lacks elaborate use cases for other segments (while still not being as reliable and safe as it should be at the moment). The conversation moved away from the finance sector a bit as we talked about how it could be used for smart contracts, custodian services and a multitude of authentication services. The consensus was that the blockchain holds a lot of potential but that they still lack the maturity to be used on a much broader scope. Resources on blockchain and thousands of articles discussing the topic can be found (pretty much everywhere) online, if you are interested in learning about the blockchain in general. Some specific platforms and services discussed can be found here: http://lightning.network/ https://z.cash/ https://openbazaar.org/ https://21.co/

Are you interested in more information about barcamps or do you hink we should start building a list of bar camps in finance, banking and payments worldwide? Let us know via [email protected]