Tag Archives: Bitcoin

LFP016 – New Year’s Special – Behind the Scenes, UK Fintech 2015 and Occupy Fintech!

LFP016 banner

The New Year is a time of reflection, a time for looking forwards and a time to take stock. So in this light this will be a special, somewhat off-piste episode with just me at the microphone. This episode has three parts:

In Part 1 I talk about some of the behind the scenes stories that go into making the LFP and share some of my thoughts about the challenges of the creative journey – a journey which many fintechs will have been through and are going through.

In Part 2 I discuss the five themes that I expect to see in UK Fintech in 2015.  These all go under the overarching banner of “2015 – The Year When Fintech Grows Up”.

  1. Less Spin
  2. A Shake-Out
  3. Fintech Maturing and Breaking-Up into Subsectors
  4. Group-Think in the Subsectors
  5. #NewFS Getting More Solid

If Xmas is a time for traditional rituals like family, over-eating, and hitting Amazon Prime bigtime 😀 it’s also a time for thinking of those less fortunate than ourselves.

If you work in Canary Wharf you will probably never see a homeless person there (I never have – are they kept out?). Meg Hillier the MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch points out that in Hackney a staggering 47% of children live in poverty :-O 🙁

In Part 3 I discuss the wider societal impact of Fintech and its media narratives.

Will Fintech, driven by the “billion dollar IPO narrative” end up being just another “get rich quick scheme” for a tiny few and become self-centred and greedy like the existing widely-disliked banking system?

Is Fintech just about creating some new mega-corporates that will live in tall shiny buildings?

Can Fintech be more than this?  Can it have a social conscience, can Fintech contribute to society and make the world a better place?


Let me know what you think!  In my pre-Xmas mode of thinking of those less fortunate than ourselves I tweeted a few socially pertinent tweets under the hashtag #OccupyFintech.  For those of you interested in this topic please feel free to use and amplify.  You don’t even have to sleep outside in the cold in a tent 😀

In the next episode  Continue reading

LFP007 – Dot Coms to Fintechs, Lessons Learned by Michael Nulty, 40yrs+ as an Entrepreneur, Investor and Angel

Special agent Michael Nulty (well in his dreams anyway :-D)

Special agent Michael Nulty (well in his dreams anyway :-D)

Wisdom is massively under-rated in our data-driven society. Data, information, even knowledge can be learned.  Wisdom however has to be absorbed. Wisdom is the hard-earned distillation of decades of life experience. So in this summary today I can only scrape the surface with a precis of information and knowledge.  As always I just pick out a few points here – it’s a wide-ranging conversation. To absorb the wisdom you will need to listen and reflect.

Michael is a lifetime entrepreneur, He is a fellow of the Royal Society and he is currently founder and MD of Third Sector Finance which adapts Financial Services products to meet the needs of social enterprises in the UK. I met him at a digital currency day as he is both an investor in digital currencies as well as working on improving the blockchain (this distributed ledger that was discussed in LFP003). He is a non-executive director of Gnaratas a company in the renewable alternative fuel sector in Swaziland. In the second Gulf war he co-founded a company that became very active in supplying satellite comms businesses to the non-military allied forces.

I could go on but I think you get the drift. In a world where words get devalued bigtime Michael is a Real Entrepreneur with a capital R, capital E.

His seminal experience was starting a painting and decorating business in the Isle of Man.  He learned not only “pure capitalism” – employ good people, pay them x, bill x + y – but also from the millionaires whose gardens they also maintained.  Most of them were nice (a surprise) and all of them kept it very simple. K.I.S.S was an everlasting lesson.

One of his core experiences which may well help shed light on the current fintech boom/bubble is none of the above incarnations.  In the dot-com bubble. Michael was an active investor in a whole bunch of dot-com companies – most, but not all, of which went through the roof and then through the floor on the way down.  Taking a temporary early retirement in France he had plenty of time to reflect on what differentiated the succesful investments from the unsuccessful ones.

Lessons from Dot Com Boom Investing

Continue reading

LFP005 – Innovating in Fintech & Emerging Market FX with Jon Vollemaere of R5FX.com

R5 730_90_banner_white 3

There are some huge misunderstandings in the Fintech scene right now.  Innovation is (often) misunderstood. The importance of domain expertise and experience is (often) misunderstood.  Also what’s happening with emerging market currencies and the London Fintech scene as a whole?

On this show today I am delighted to welcome a serial FX entrepreneuer – Jon Vollemaere CEO of R5FX.com (which is all very synchronicitous as this is episode 005 :-)) – to discuss all of these issues.

Wearing his day job hat, upcoming regulation requires Foreign Exchange trading banks to radically change their current trading channels for emerging markets. In essence this is to increase transparency in a market which has around $100bn turnover every day. R5 is leading that change by creating an electronic trading platform for emerging market currencies which is focused on moving the market from voice to screen.

Above and beyond this current incarnation, Jon is an excellent person to discuss innovation, FS, FX and Fintech with as he has 20yrs experience in FX markets and is a serial entrepreneur having worked, in essence, with Fintechs before “Fintechs” existed as such. So he brings great practical experience to the show.

Additionally Jon is a top bloke. Having lunch with him recently I was reminded of the City in the ‘80s – when everyone had something interesting to say outside of Financial Services as well as within it. Indeed it is no surprise that the most creative folks do have the widest horizons. Very tough to be creative if you wear blinkers.


The Importance of Experience and Domain Expertise in Fintech

This is especially valuable in Continue reading

LFP003 – Lifting the bonnet on Digital Currencies with Dr James Smith of elliptic.co

Should have gone to Specsavers?

Should have gone to Specsavers?


The Daily Mail hasn’t yet written about how Bitcoin causes cancer. I’m rather surprised given the hysterical tone of much Bitcoin coverage. “It’s going to a million dollars!”. “It’s going to zero!”. “It’s the future of money!”. “It’s a scam!”. “It’s for drug dealers and terrorists!” .  And those comments are just from the sober broadsheets 😀

[And just in passing the currency accepted by terrorists and drug dealers worldwide is a wad of US$ bills – nothing is going to displace that soon ;-)]

Oh dear.

In this episode I am very glad to welcome Dr James Smith, CEO and co-founder of Elliptic – a company founded by three PhDs – which has recently raised £2m to grow it’s business as a digital custodian of digital currencies.  As per the photo above even the Chancellor George Osbourne is happy to be photographed at a Bitcoin ATM.  So we can assume there must be something more to Bitcoin than hysteria if hommes serieux are coming to the party. Continue reading