At the Seamless Middle East 2023 event hosted in Dubai, UAE, I presented three core ideas from my book titled ‘The Great Transition: The Personalisation of Finance is Here’: the personalisation of finance, the shift from platforms to personalisation, and the idea of the mass amateurisation of finance. I explained that personalisation goes far beyond tailoring products to customers’ preferences, and that it can be achieved without intermediaries.
The rise of cryptocurrencies and stablecoins already enables direct transactions between individuals without intermediaries, signaling a growing inclination towards personalisation.
I emphasised four key elements necessary for personalisation: identity, value, verification, and data, where technology advancements have already addressed these aspects, with developments in digital identity systems, value tokenisation, and network-based verifications.
End of the platform era
We are coming to the end of the platform era. Industry players must embrace personalisation and leverage technology to encourage direct and personalised interactions with users, making finance more user-centric.
The world is on the verge of a post-mobile era, where even mobile devices will no longer be the sole repositories of information, identity, and value, and that the internet of things (IoT) and the metaverse are set to affect the landscape, requiring adaptation from financial players.
Furthermore, financial inclusion is a lie. Onboarding millions of users to platforms will not democratise finance. I argued that if the intention is to monetise the poor, platforms are not fulfilling their role in the concept of inclusion. There is a need to acknowledge digital asset access as a human right, on par with water and air.
Mass amateurisation of finance and missed opportunities
I also applied the concept of mass amateurisation to finance, where end-users define and create the products they use, and highlights a missed opportunity in banking with the use of application programming interface (API)—while Microsoft and Adobe embraced their user communities in defining platform usage, banks remain closed off, treating API developers as mere suppliers.
The blockchain world, on the other hand, empowers users to build their own API, a significant transformation that traditional banks have been slow to adopt. Cryptocurrencies provide the freedom to design and create individual digital assets.
Finally, I emphasised the need for financial players to adapt and embrace personalisation and blockchain technologies. Where finance meets customer-driven innovation, the future promises exciting possibilities for a more personalised and democratised financial landscape.