Security & Authenticity Are Key At Web Summit

Day 2, Wednesday afternoon and the same day that brings the news of yet another technology company relocating to Ireland.  Usually, welcoming a tech company to our shores sees government ministers and CEO’s ‘grip and grin’ opposite press photographers to announce ‘one hundred new jobs’ – not so today., the controversial social networking app which allows anonymous posting and was linked to the suicide of an Irish teenage girl in 2012 is to relocate from Latvia to Dublin.

Reflecting this news, it seems that at the Enterprise Stage at the RDS Simmonscourt, security, authentication and replacing antiquated methods of self-identification promise to be the next wave of e-products worldwide.

At a lecture entitled ‘Death of the Password?’ Emmanuel Shalit spoke about how we humans use, or more aptly misuse passwords, begging the question ‘how many have you got?’ Somewhat of a misnomer in the supposed digital marketplace where everything is so easily accessible and at your fingertips. Not so if you can’t recall your amazon password ahead of your iTunes one. Or, are you one of the clever ones, you use one password for everything? No. You’re not clever. You’re at significantly increased risk of data breach and deservedly so.

The excitement du jour suggests that hardware, your fingerprint or your retina scan will replace your password for accessing personal profiles online however as this hardware is, in many cases, prohibitively expensive, for now Dashlane has you covered with one centralised app that houses all of your passwords and changes them all individually and sporadically, you don’t even know what they are.

Interviewed on stage by Lisa Fleisher of the Wall Street Journal, John MacIlwaine CTO of Lending Club, Brett Meyers of Currency Fair and Sebastian Diemer, founder of Kreditech spoke about ‘Breaking the Bank’ – and how banking, unlike, books, music and news is the most prominent product and service yet to be fully digitised.

Banks rely on legacy software to transfer your funds abroad charging a disproportionately high and according to Brett ‘unjustified’ percentage on the fx rate. Banks rely on dated systems and the input of credit bureaus hampered by regulatory requirements to identify your credit score. This, according these FinTech experts is like using past weather to predict future weather and so – irrelevant and unreliable.

With companies like Currency Fair who allow you to elect your own rate when transferring money abroad, and Kreditech who use your digital footprint to determine if you’re a reliable borrower, and your Facebook profile to flag potential fraud, it seems banking, as we know it is a dying art.

These technology experts agree that one of the most serious challenges facing the FinTech industry that of trust. Like Bitcoin, once one variety is found to be less than honourable, the entire concept is damaged. Unlike which offers a unique ‘anonymous’ platform, the evolution of FinTech hinges on the ability to authenticate and identify ourselves digitally.