February 20, 2018

Debitum Advisor Michael Ricks: Blockchain is not an evolution, rather a revolution

“As far as financial services are concerned, blockchain is a game changer. It’s not an evolution, rather, it’s a revolution”, – says Michael Ricks, Financial Services Advisor at Debitum Network. Being involved in evolution and revolution of the financial industry in the last 30 years, Michael provides valuable insights on what is going on in fintech sector, blockchain technology, innovations and value creation, and shares his insights on key aspects of Debitum Network project. 

Skype video between Munich and Vilnius

Thank you, Michael, for inspiring insights!

Michael Ricks is a fintech innovator that helps businesses to scale, setting up financial processes at banks and insurance companies, focusing on creating value in financial transactions, and implementing innovation. He has been a country, regional and global leader and partner in the financial services practices of three of the “Big Four” consultancies, as well as a partner in a London investment bank. Government and industry seek his advice on cyber security. He is an active business angel and board member, accompanying firms from startup to the exit.

Michael Ricks is a financial services advisor at Debitum Network. Near to our daily work, we love discussions with Michael Ricks as they broaden our point of view and lead to new exciting ideas for further development of our project. So, Monika Varkalyte, Chief Marketing Officer, has used an occasion to interview Michael, asking him about how he sees the blockchain technology and hat is the future of it. What are the key things we should keep in mind talking about the new technologies and disruptive innovation? What happens, when a new, really innovative service enters the market? What is needed to make it really successful? What are the key factors that you value in the project?

Watch an exciting interview with valuable insights on changes in financial services industry, blockchain technology innovations, value creation and Debitum Network project.

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Transcription

Monika:
Hi, I am Monika from Debitum team, and today I have an online guest. Debitum financial services advisor, Michael Ricks. Hi, Michael.

Michael:
Hi, Monika.

Monika:
Thank you for joining our interview today.

Michael:
It’s a pleasure to be with you.

Monika:
Michael is a fintech innovator and has a huge experience in developing and advising for fintech projects. Michael, could you please shortly introduce yourself.

Michael:
My pleasure. Yeah, I’m a fintech entrepreneur as you say. I have worked as a guru in a business and technology think thank and a partner in three of the big four consulting firms. I’m now helping businesses scale. Yeah, I’m building entrepreneurial businesses.

Most of my business activity is focused on taking great ideas and trying to utilize technology in order to scale. I set up financial processes at banks and insurance companies and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Now I’m working on specific solutions, focused on creating value in financial transactions enabled by the blockchain, including SME financing, and space observation, and agriculture, and aerospace, and mobile payments, and factoring.

Monika:
Let’s talk more about fintech and innovations. How do you see the blockchain technology? What is the future of it?

Michael:
Well, as far as financial services are concerned, blockchain is a game changer. It’s not an evolution, rather it’s a revolution. It’s about creating and retaining value. So there are a couple of things that the blockchain does. First of all, it authenticates identity and value, so that identities are robust and verifiable.

It helps us in moving value, so value can be moved instantly whether large or small amounts without an intermediary, dramatically reducing cost. It helps us to store value, and so we can safely store value without the old style financial institutions. It helps us to lend value, so that debt can be issued and traded and stored on the blockchain, that’s efficient and effectively reduces risk.

We can access loans from our peers, based upon our own good reputation. It helps in terms of accounting for value because we’ve got a distributed ledger that makes trans … That makes our financial reporting transparent and in real-time. It helps us to manage risk, because reputational systems help us to estimate risk and maintain compliance, and ultimately it helps us with the exchanging value.

Here for funding, smart contracts can automate peer-to-peer financing and it enables us to trust others. That’s essentially what Debitum Network is doing with the blockchain.

Monika:
Yes. What are the key things we should keep in mind talking about new technologies and disruptive innovation?

Michael:
Ah, okay.

Monika:
Like blockchain.

Michael:
Well, yeah. New technologies in and of themselves are seldom focused on meeting a need. What we need to do is focus on business processes that are enabled by technology, but that meet needs of customers and investors. So sometimes old competitors didn’t innovate quickly enough to survive, and right now we’ve got exactly that situation with banks and insurers. They may be buying up blockchain companies, but what they have to do is first destroy their old business models in order to be able to work.

They’ve got to … They can’t just simply put a flashy new wrapper on an old business model. So here’s startups that are very focused in their scope, like Debitum. Focused on lending to SMEs. Are well-positioned to redefine the financial services market.

Monika:
So some new things could look difficult in the beginning for some people. Why it is so?

Michael:
Yeah, sometimes it’s tough to be visionary. But take electric cars for example. We both enjoy driving them. They were originally invented in 1828 in Hungary, and it’s taken a long time for us to get to the point of being able to use them every day.

That’s changed. I use an electric vehicle most days. I don’t own one, but am able to rent it on a daily basis, simply for a couple of minutes to get me where I’m going. This is enabled by an exchange of information and a trusted relationship that technology supports.

Monika:
What happens when a new, really innovative service enters the market? What is needed to make it real successful?

Michael:
Well, there I think first of all you got to focus on a real need. Second, you have to quickly establish scale. Third, you have to have trust of the participants in the marketplace.

Monika:
Okay. Let’s talk about Debitum project. What do you do as a financial services advisor for our project?

Michael:
Oh, okay. So I’m the gray haired guy, and I understand both the opportunity and ability to learn from the past, if you will. So I’ve been involved in both evolution and revolution of financial services for the past 30 years. I hope to help the team not just understand where we’ve been however, but to more importantly understand where we’re going.

Monika:
What do you like about Debitum project? What are the key factors that you evaluate in the project?

Michael:
There are lots of new crypto opportunities out there. As I sorted through them, I understood that Debitum Network is based upon an existing fintech business that’s already successful. That is focused in scope, that has a team, that is proven that they can work effectively together.

The next step in the development of Debitum Network is to draw upon the skills of people around the world who really know their local environment and really know the local businesses. At the same time provide an opportunity to investors to fund local businesses that they can trust.

Monika:
So what do you wish for Debitum project in our community?

Michael:
All the best is the answer. I wish that … I hope that the community, to whom we’re speaking today has the courage to embrace this innovation that will change the world for business owners and change the world for investors across the world. So I hope for a rapid uptake. I hope that a lot of SMEs were involved. I hope that a lot of lenders get on board and that credit experts are involved too.

Monika:
I wish it too. Thank you Michael.

Michael:
Thank you very much Monika.

Monika:
Yeah, thank you all for watching. Did you like this video? Visit Debitum.network and join our telegram channel for further discussion. Thank you.

Michael:
Thanks.

Monika:
See you soon.

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