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David Birch confirmed as EBAday 2024 challenge speaker

Exploring digital money, digital assets, digital identity and the future of banking, David G. W. Birch has been confirmed as the keynote speaker for one of the most compelling sessions at EBAday every year.

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David Birch confirmed as EBAday 2024 challenge speaker

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This content has been selected, created and edited by the Finextra editorial team based upon its relevance and interest to our community.

Encouraging the audience of payments professionals and executive bankers to think differently, Birch will take to the stage – as many have done before him – to provide insight into the economic and political ramifications of the move towards digital money.

In 2023, for example, alumni of the Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum programme and founder and CEO of Stellar Capacity, Claudia Olsson was EBAday’s challenge speaker.

The ‘challenge speaker’ keynote gives an innovative thinker the space to share their true views on the contentious issues in the payments and transaction banking world. Olsson tackled the topic of ‘value in a connected world.’ Olsson’s work has focused on the impact of new technologies on citizens, society and global markets. She is a sought after speaker on exponential technologies, future trends, leadership and governance.

Ranked one of 2022’s global top 30 fintech influencers, Birch is one of the top three most influential people in London’s fintech community and rated Europe’s most influential commentator on emerging payments.

He is also a contributor for Forbes, a columnist for Financial World magazine and has written for publications ranging from the Parliamentary IT Review to The Financial Times. He also wrote a column in The Guardian for many years. A media commentator on electronic business issues, he has appeared on BBC television and radio, Sky and other channels around the world.

In 2022, Finextra sat down with Birch to discuss some of the evolving trends in digital identity; when asked why it is important that we strive toward a world where the consumer has full autonomy and control over their data, he said: “This comes down to the difference between implementing things using biometrics. For example, I walk into Waitrose, Waitrose takes my picture and they run it through some facial software, they realise it’s Dave, I buy some stuff. That all works. But identification has danger. You don’t have to be paranoid to be worried about surveillance and hacking. In world where you have something like a ring with a secure chip, that’s different. I think it’s giving customers that control.

“Giving customers control I see very positively. I understand there is some convenience benefits in not having anything and just walking in and having a face scanner, but there’s a lot of negatives. This includes one of my favourite stories from the South China Morning Post, about a woman who got a nose job and could no longer get into her bank account!”
Birch also explored how he thought digital identity would evolve, to which he answered: “Without a shadow of a doubt digital identity is a keystone. The crucial dynamic I think everyone understands is, if you have identity, if you know who everybody is, payments is just a bit of mucking about on a spreadsheet. All of the complexity of payments is to do with authentication, fraud, risk management, all of these. It’s because we don’t know who everyone is. If the identity side is sorted out, payments are easy.

“As for what’s going on in the space, I think people don’t see what’s bubbling under the surface. For example, I read that Apple, Google, and Microsoft were going to support W3C FIDO authentication. I think people just really didn't understand the implications of that, the idea that you'll have a key ring or whatever and you'll be able to log into anything. So Apple will accept Microsoft authentication etc. This sort of stuff is bubbling along, and I don't think people see quite how important all is. It's really going to change a lot.”

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