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Cheddar UX

Posted on Mar 20th, 2008 by Nate Bolt
346 comments

Call us crazy, but around BP we think that the future of money is a big deal.

Some of us are excited to be heading to BarCampBank San Francisco next weekend. The point of this unconference is to dig into some of the newest, craziest ideas in finance technology, to “foster innovations and the creation of new business models in the world of banking and finance.”

If you’re interested in influencing how technology is changing people’s lives, you could do a lot worse than working with the applications that pay bills and buy dinner. Us Californians often take loans, stable currencies and banks for granted, but the financial sector is in its infancy for a lot of the world — and its future is far from written.

One of the most exciting concepts in this area is the development of peer-to-peer lending, like Kiva and Microplace. Plenty of talk about this and microloans is sure to be had at the conference.

But, like always, things get really crazy when you start thinking about doing it with your cellphone. Nokia UX researcher Jan Chipchase writes great stuff about the future of mobile banking, which has amazing potential for changing the lives of the “unbanked,” the millions of people who have no banking infrastructure at all. On his blog, Future Perfect, Chipchase wrote this week:

Imagine a world without access to banks and the services they provide – baseline services such as credit, money transfers, savings. For many of the world’s poor this is the everyday reality and it’s a space where in part due to the spread of mobile telephony there are disruptions and innovations.

In many parts of the developing world, mobile phones are the web, so being able to pay cab fare with your phone is not a iPhone fantasy — soon it might be the most secure and stable way to exchange currency for large parts of the world.

Here’s to some exciting innovation at BarCampBank on Saturday … maybe we’ll see you there.

(Photo by xiaming on flickr)

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