The Central Banking 2019 Fintech & Regtech Global Award winners have been announced with artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, or rather more precisely Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) as bankers generally prefer to call their centrally controlled versions, featuring prominently. This second annual event rewarded participants in a range of categories for “outstanding work at the cutting edge of financial technology.”
— CentralBanking.com (@CentralBanking_) September 4, 2019
The vocal exuberance of the night that briefly replaced the traditional staid voice of the industry was perhaps best encapsulated by one the award winners, Banque de France Governor François Villeroy de Galhou, who is quoted as saying “We are open, we are proactive and we show it.”
Central Banking Future
While it is noted that any industry award ceremony carries elements of self-congratulatory or virtue signalling messages, they can be useful for shining a spotlight onto the pathway a particular market sector is taking.
Even allowing for the diplomacy in dispersing awards around among the participants, the geographical spread of awardees shows how entrenched DLT and AI has become within the central banking system:
- Global Impact Award: Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA)
- Pioneer Award: Banque de France
- Techforward Award: Bank of England’s (BoE) Prudential Regulation Authority
- Data Management: The Central Bank of the Philippines (BSP)
- Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI): The Central Bank of the Philippines (BSP)
- Best Sandbox Initiative: Central Bank of Brazil (BCB)
- Best Cyber Resilience Initiative: The European Central Bank (ECB)
A number of other individual companies were also recognised for their part in providing the technology to modernise central banking and provide more signposts for the overall direction of the industry.
One such example is Baton Systems, winner of the Best Payment and Settlement Provider of the Year Award, who have worked with the Bank of England in developing their Real-time gross settlement (RTGS) network. It is claimed that Baton’s DLT platform is already capable of handling over a billion transactions a day. With such impressive figures it perhaps comes as no surprise that the company has recently attracted new backers and secured $12 million in a Series A funding round.