Open Banking - A Light Bulb Moment

Open Banking And A Light Bulb Moment

When new technology bursts onto the scene it is almost always received in two different ways, by two different camps of people – those who are excited by the new opportunities it opens up and those who are resistant to change.

A History of Scepticism

When the news got out that Edison was developing the first practical light bulb, not everyone was impressed. A British Parliament Committee noted in 1878 that Edison’s light bulb was “good enough for our Transatlantic friends…but unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men.”

Radio didn’t fare much better when it was first invented. In 1913 The U.S. District Attorney began prosecution on American Lee De Forest, an inventor who worked on early radio technology and who was promoting the spreading of the technology. The D.A. stated that “Lee De Forest has said in many newspapers and over his signature that it would be possible to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic before many years. Based on these absurd and deliberately misleading statements, the misguided public has been persuaded to purchase stock in his company.”

And this isn’t all ancient history. As recently as 1977, Ken Olson the founder of Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) was quoted as saying, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”

We Are Early Adopters

If I’d had to pick a camp back in those times, I’d like to think that I would have been an enthusiastic early adopter of the new technology. I hope I would have greeted Edison’s invention by chucking all my candles out and been one of the first people to purchase stock in Lee De Forest’s radio technology company. And if I’d been a 1970s homeowner, I hope I’d be quick off the blocks to clear out a few lava lamps and make room for one of the first home computers.

Open banking, which launched last week, is a hugely exciting new technology that is going to bring massive benefits for ordinary consumers and the way they manage their finances – more choice, more control and often more money in their pockets. And just as there has always been, there are two camps of people greeting its arrival – the enthusiastic early adopters and the detractors.

Open Banking Is Here To Stay

All of us in the Castlight team believe open banking is a force for good and are working with some of the most forward-thinking banks to deliver the benefits it brings in tangible ways to consumers.

There may be the detractors out there, but given the lessons of history, I’m confident that by the early 2020s we’ll look at open banking technology and we won’t be able to believe we managed without it.