How and why being Open can kill Freedom

PSD2 can kill Freedom

The Internet tends to create monopolies.

Stronger and faster than ever before.

On the one hand side this is due to the given and possible transparency. Everybody can very easily and fast detect the best offer, the best place, solution etc.

But on the other hand side it’s because of the rise of the many open, easy-to-use and standard technologies, especially in the area of APIs.

Simple and usually at no cost one can interface with all service providers of a given domain and forces the service provider to stay in the background. The customer only sees the aggregator, the platform provider, the intermediator.

And suddenly everybody shops at Amazon, buys insurance at Check24 and electricity at Verivox.

Today it’s still possible for a service provider to refuse participation in these ecosystems although, from a business perspective, it’s nearly impossible to ignore these monopolistic ecosystem structures.

PSD2 can kill Diversity

Now with the implementation of the PSD2 directive suddenly a new trend enters the Internet stage:

The regulator forces banks via PSD2  to provide Open APIs to everybody who wants access. In no other business area we have seen a trend like this yet.

And although I love Open APIs and am a massive fan of since HBCI in the 90ties either I also see a new danger that maybe only one or two will benefit from PSD2-  the Open API intended diversity achieves exactly the opposite then.

This is why we, as banks, have to do the following:

  1. The bank needs to keep the customer interface by keeping the identity via own identity processes and means. A Bank ID provided by YES or similar services. We have to protect us from loosing the ‘key to customer door’
  2. We have to monetise our APIs (with value added services). Only the very basic information should be available for free for TPPs. The ecosystems shouldn’t get the customer interface for free. It’s the customer data. Yes. But we paid for making it our customer – maybe a one-time-fee for taking over would be a fair compromise and a first step

A regulation with a very positive motivation can, if done wrong, create exactly the opposite:  Internet monopolies which will dictate the rules for service providers and customers.

Why the Failure of Facebook is good for the People and saved the Banks.

Why Facebook helped the People to finally differentiate between Digital Noise and Trust

Usually people learn from their mistakes. Due to the nature of our brain failures create new neural networks. Successes run through already existing ones.

Facebook’s problems, the shit storm of the last days, weeks and months suddenly makes something transparent, what has been here for years, but wasn’t really obvious to the standard user and the people in general.

There was no neural network, that could deal with all the negative aspects and risks of uncontrolled and unregulated social networks. It hasn’t been created yet. 

Now with all the negative noise around Facebook people are creating new neurones and connections between, which let them think differently and change their behaviour fianlly, I’m sure.

My daughter, 23Y, a digital native ‘created’ and powered by her tech dad,  addicted to and depended from her iPhone deleted all her social apps on their phone the last days. Today she even ordered a Nokia 3310.

This will not be the end of Facebook, I assume. But it will be the beginning of a new relationship of the people and governments towards Social Networks and the like. A new new relationship to their own data and to handle these.

And why is this good for Banks?

Banks have been ecosystems of trusts for centuries. Usually people trusted banks more than governments and even families. This was always the main business model of banks. Banks handled data very seriously,  even without the regulation they have to deal with today. Then came  the Credit Crisis and banks lost a lot of trust.

And since some years people are claiming we need banking, but we don’t need banks. They are saying Facebook and Google and the like can do much better banking than traditional banks. Because these are more customer focused and can play the ‘digital and technical piano’ better than the incumbents.

While this isn’t wrong in general and might apply for some customers it won’t work for all and the most customers. The ‘Amazon or Facebook Bank’ answers the wrong question.

Banking is not (only) about customer centricity or technology or channels or usability, it’s about trust. It’s about how to care for customer data.

And as long as the banks can keep the customer’s trust and transport trust to a digital world, the digital ecosystem of trust. And as long as Facebook and Google can’t create a comparable trust, banks are here to stay, like they did for 300, 100, 50 or 10 years.

That said I believe Facebook did the banks a great pleasure the last days.

Maybe they even saved the banks…