Welcome to “P.I.T. Exchange”: A New Era in Payments and Technology – Episode #1

Podcast Intro (00:00:00) – Hello. Welcome to Pit Exchange, a podcast by Currency Research. Join us as we discuss the latest in payments innovation and technology with the industry’s most innovative thought leaders. Today’s payments are changing and moving around the world faster than ever before. In Pit, exchange gives you the knowledge and insights to keep up. Sit back and relax is rejoin currency research exchanging ideas with today’s special guest.

Shaun Ferrari (00:00:30) – Hello, everybody. Welcome to the Pit Exchange from Currency Research. It is our first episode and we are thrilled to have you with us. We are launching this new podcast all about payments innovation and technology. And we are looking forward to bringing guest to you throughout this entire year that are truly thought leaders and experts in their field, all the way from cash to payments to digital currency to AI. We want to talk to them and share that with you all about the latest and greatest in in payments and technology trends. We have a great list of speakers coming, coming at you this season.

This time, however, for this first episode, we wanted you to know all of the co-hosts that you’ll be having the pleasure of listening to this year, and which are all of our VP’s and our president and CEO, here at currency Research. So I’ll start with myself. Hey, everybody. I’m Shaun Ferrari here at Currency Research, I am looking after a couple of our different events upcoming this year, and I’m the Vice President for Global Business Development, and I’m really focusing on AI and digital currency. I really want to bring to you some of the fascinating developments that are going on in both of those cases. There’s so much happening in terms of central bank digital currencies, stablecoins, deposit tokens, digital assets and how financial institutions are are really integrating all of this technology together and making the whole payment stream faster, and more responsive to what customers and institutions are wanting to do. Also on the AI front, really delving into how is that being used by central banks and financial institutions, whether it’s, in data analysis, whether it’s in KYC, AML, whether it’s, just training workforce to be more efficient, how is it being used and how should it be be being used, and how do we do that ethically and responsibly.

So I really want to delve into those topics, that’s what I’m going to focus on and of course will touch on other topics as well. But let’s talk to our other co-hosts here at Currency Research, and we’re going to start with Jens. Jens. Hello, sir. Good to see you, it’s morning for me, and I also want to tell everybody where we are. I am in the US, right outside of Washington, DC, in Northern Virginia. Jens, it’s afternoon for you, I believe but over to you, sir. Maybe tell everybody a little bit about yourself and, what you’re looking forward to, to engaging with speakers this year.

Jens Seidl (00:03:17) – Happy to. Thanks very much, Shaun. My name is Jens, I’ve been singled out already, by Shaun. I’m the CEO of CR. and I’m here in, unfortunately, not in sunny Frankfurt. We’re still in winter here but we’re making the most of it. I’m. I have to say, I’m really surprised and realized how much interest there is in this podcast.

So we’ve been reaching out to contact people over the last couple of weeks, asking them whether they’d be interested to join us for the podcast. And we’ve got some really great speakers or guests already lined up from the Federal Reserve Bank, from Bank of England, the reserve Bank of New Zealand. We’ve got the National Bank of Kazakhstan, Bank of Austria. So a real pretty diverse range of different central banks with very different, issues that they’re facing in their respective markets. And I think that’s that’s what I’m really looking forward to, is to have this, this platform here, where we can really have a more of a casual chat, if you like, with, with some of these guests about what’s going on in their markets and what kind of issues are on their mind because it’s it’s not easy to have those kind of conversations in other contexts. So I think it’s an interesting new format for us, and I look forward to it big time.

Shaun Ferrari (00:04:35) – Yeah, I think it should be great.

Shaun Ferrari (00:04:36) – And some of the things I found as I’ve been reaching out to folks as well as you’ve been doing a lot of with the central bank reach outs I’ve been reaching out to some of the folks in that tech space. Everybody’s really excited to come on board, and we’ve got some really senior folks and some really interesting topics that are going to be going to be great to delve into with people and to your point, I think the the format really lends itself to that casual engagement. And folks that are interested, am interested on your thoughts on this, but, you know, folks that I thought might be a little more hesitant to come and talk in an environment like this, they seem very willing to, to come and engage with us. And I think, you know, I don’t know, is that your experience as well? I’ve, just been surprised as well in terms of their willingness.

Jens Seidl (00:05:22) – Yeah. No, it’s it’s definitely my impression as well and of course we’re not going to give away state to state secrets.

Yeah, that’s not the idea. But I think that there’s just so much going on in this space that people are quite keen to share what they’re doing, but also some others. But I’m I’m hogging way too much time here. So I go back to you, Shaun.

Shaun Ferrari (00:05:42) – All right. Thanks. Jens. with that, let’s bring on our next co-host Tom. Tom in cyber world, there he is. Good to see you. If you’re listening to us we also have a video stream, just FYI. So if you’re just listening to us on your favorite podcast platform, you can see us as well if you go to our website and, track down our videos. But, Tom, great to see you. Maybe let folks know a little bit about, where you are or what you’re looking forward to, to chatting with us about this year.

*Tom Mitchell (00:06:14) – Sure. So my name is Tom Mitchell and I’m the vice president for Europe, Middle East, Africa, and I’m based just outside of Edinburgh in Scotland.

So I’m really looking forward on these series of podcasts, in addition to the topics that, Shaun and Jens have already covered, is to bring some of that cash perspective, to the podcast initiatives that we’re working on or I’m working on a lot at the moment. Focus both on cash policy, cash product design and also cash cycle. And I think it’s really interesting, this specific part of the industry, which has grown up as a naturally very conservative and naturally very insular industry, very secretive, which to your point about the openness of these kind of conversations, I think it’s fantastic to be able to talk about what is going on, because there’s some really fascinating stuff going on in the industry. It’s a time of huge change, but there are some really quite advanced companies doing cutting edge research and technology out there who are looking into fascinating topics to do with cash, going right back to the very basics of what even is cash. And looking at how we merge the attributes or the positive attributes both of physical and digital cash into such things as the, electronic or the digital banknote.

So there’s a lot of really interesting stuff going on out there. And, you know, we spend most of our working lives traveling to zillions of conferences, and there’s really interesting information that’s been spoken about and I think this is going to be a really good platform to be able to really broaden the message of what’s going on and learn from the different regions and also for the different sectors, cash and payments to be able to learn from each other. When people think payments, fintech, etc., they think of fast paced, very rapidly evolving, industries and there’s no reason that there couldn’t be things learned from that. And there’s no reason that the fintech can’t take a look and learn some of the positive attributes about cash that many forms of digital payments are trying to replicate, and really understand how both sectors work together.

Shaun Ferrari (00:08:18) – Yeah, I think that’s interesting and right. I know we’ve tried it at some of our past events in terms of kind of melding those topics and really getting the two sides of the the payments and cash and the fintech scene to kind of chat together.

You know, you mentioned visiting a bunch of other, other conferences all over the place. Are there a couple of places that you’ve been recently that you can share with us, not necessarily what was talked about, but just kind of where have you been, Tom, around the world recently?

Tom Mitchell (00:08:45) – Well, we’ve had the past couple of months. Obviously a lot of us were together in London, the fintech, the fintech financial hub of the world in preparation for, the two, leading events that we’re bringing to London later on this year. Last week I was in Bulgaria, in Sofia, very nice place, as it turns out. And next week, a bunch of us are heading off to a mysterious, as yet undisclosed location in Asia, to prepare for one of our next big events. Which is all exciting, but it just goes to that point I was saying just about, you know, these are global industries, just because, you know, I’m, you know, I might be learning things based in London, or Bulgaria or Asia you know, a lot of this information, it needs to move around the world and hopefully this podcast and we can help be a conduit for that.

Shaun Ferrari (00:09:32) – Awesome. Thank you, sir. And maybe we can break some news on the podcast at some point as well about what was being talked about in Asia when you’re there, who knows? Anyway, thank you Tom, have a lovely rest of your afternoon and let’s bring on Gonzalo. Hello, sir. How are you?

*Gonzalo Santamaria (00:09:51) – Hello, Sean. How are you? Thanks for having me as a co-host.

Shaun Ferrari (00:09:57) – It’s wonderful to have you. Thanks for coming aboard. I will turn it over to you, sir, and you can, chat a bit about again, you know, where are you and what are you interested in bringing to the the virtual table here.

Gonzalo Santamaria (00:10:07) – Thank you so much. So my name is Gonzalo Santamaria, VP at Currency Research. I’m based in Madrid, sunny Spain. And, one of the things that I’ll be doing in, in terms of the co-hosting is inviting one of the chairs of one of our flagship events, the Central Bank Payments Conference, and we’ll be talking about kind of our reasoning of how we’ve developed some of the content within that program.

It’s an event that’s been running for eight years now. It’s very much central bank focus, talking about the issues and challenges there. And for me, one of the areas that is really kind of keen, of top of my mind is the sort of the whole instant payments faster payments, real time payments, sort of the the development of how that’s come on around the world. There’s now 70 countries or so that have a domestic instant payment platform scheme operating. But I think what’s probably the most important aspect of that is that, a lot of the talks and discussions that are happening now, with the interconnecting of those schemes. Because I live in Spain, for example, and I’ve got Bizum, we’ve got a huge part of the population, we’re probably one of the highest transactions per population in all of Europe. But at the same time, we can’t use that instant payment scheme to send the payments to someone in neighbouring country France, Portugal or whoever it might be. So when that starts to happen, it becomes a really powerful tool.

And I think again, that’s part of the discussions that are happening everywhere, including the BIS with their Nexus, program, in that once that starts to happen, there’s a lot of things that can really begin to break down all those barriers, start breaking down when we start, when we’re able to make instant payments in less than 10s across the globe, if you will, when you know when that time comes, that’s going to be very interesting. Of course, there’s the other side of that coin. As you know, there’s a lot of, you know, there’s the fraud and security aspect. So a lot of questions are starting to come about in terms of, you know, how are the payment service providers going to meet the challenge of being able to do all of that, being able to do a payment with immediacy, with safety, you know, having the customer have a good experience and compliance all, taking care of the fraud and security. So I kind of like that topic because there’s a lot of things going on in that space. And I’m looking forward to sort of driving that a little more. And within our debates and discussions, kind of, in the future.

Shaun Ferrari (00:12:39) – Yeah. No, that’s a great point. And I was at a conference, last week, and I think the somebody on stage mentioned, you know, instant payments means instant fraud. Which, you know, kind of an interesting way to look at it, and, you know, point’s well taken. Have you heard much about, like, the use of the new technologies like, like AI and other things and in terms of being able to, to monitor that fraud or what’s what are you hearing on?

Gonzalo Santamaria (00:13:06) – Yeah, I think it’s kind of nascent, as you know. You know, the AI bit is still you know, everyone’s talking about it, but, not everyone is really sure of how it’s going to affect things. So yeah, I think I think it’s mostly being looked at, especially in the, in the data space. Right. How to how to make data, be more legible, automating a lot of those procedures in terms of understanding, how we can do better with, with all the data that’s out there.

But, but I think it’s still nascent. And I think, you know, we’ve we’ve got a lot of discussions going on at the end of the year in London, as you very well know, because you’re leading that initiative. So, and, but I think more, more so on, on the instant payment side is, is precisely that it’s how to do what everyone believes we should be doing. You know, creating that instant, payment, but at the same time ensuring that it’s safe and secure, which is which is a big challenge. There’s still a lot to do.

Shaun Ferrari (00:13:59) – Yeah. Absolutely. Cool. Look forward to delving into those topics and and much more throughout the year. with you and guests. Awesome. Thank you sir. up next, Sergio.

Sergio Sánchez (00:14:12) – Hola, amigo. Good morning in America. How are you?

Shaun Ferrari (00:14:15) – Good morning. How are you? Good to see you. Good.

Sergio Sánchez (00:14:18) – Thank you, my friend. Excellent.

Shaun Ferrari (00:14:20) – Well, let me toss it over to you. And, tell us a bit about about where you are and what you’re looking forward to, to chatting with us.

Sergio Sánchez (00:14:27) – Thank you. Of course. Yes. I’m Sergio Sanchez. I’m the vice president of Americas. I’m based in Puebla, which is a small city close to Mexico City with one of the best gastronomy in the country. So that’s why I’m based here. And of course, I’m excited to share with you all that I will be leading a couple of Spanish podcasts in the next weeks. The first one will be with a with a very experienced colleague for the cash industry, he’s based in Argentina, but he’s also responsible for the business out of Chile and Uruguay. So it will be a very interesting podcast due to his vast experience in the cash industry and will be Latin American focused 100%. So I will be diving deep in the matters and issues of South America, and also from some other countries in the in the region as well, and touching very interesting topics such as substrates, inks, security features, market trends, processing updates. So I’m sure it will be of a of a public interest.

And the second podcast will be with also with a very experienced, experienced Spanish, lady but focusing on the European Central Bank. So with very experienced a expert in terms of, cash, but also, will be also touching topics related to the, different currencies, digital currencies that are currently coexisting with the cash. It would be a really interesting outcome from her side. and we’ll see how the central banks are visualizing this interaction. So as you can see, both podcasts are really interesting conversations. So I’m really looking forward to it.

Shaun Ferrari (00:16:06) – Awesome. No, that’s sounds really fascinating, particularly to get that kind of regional aspect of of what’s happening in the the cash ecosystem and payments ecosystem. I know you are are hard at work, planning our Banknote Conference, and I mentioned it specifically because it’s coming up next month. how how is that looking? How’s how’s your are you excited for for what’s to come in Fort Worth?

Sergio Sánchez (00:16:31) – Yeah. It will be a very interesting, very interesting, event. We’re expecting around 500 people, close to 100, central banks for printing work. So it will be a very interesting content as well. The agenda is moving forward, very interesting sessions, we’re heading, a couple of innovation sessions as well, a lot of sponsors over there. So it will be a really interesting and important, event. As you know, we are having these kind of events every, every two years. The last the last one, was a couple of years back, so this time in Fort Worth, by the middle of May, we will be really excited to, to see most of the of the colleagues, mostly of the cash industry because it’s more technical, but it would be a real honor to to host the event and see all of the colleagues there.

Shaun Ferrari (00:17:22) – Awesome. Thank you sir. Well, look forward to all those conversations with you and and seeing you, if I don’t see you before that, but seeing you in person, in, in Fort Worth very shortly.

Sergio Sánchez Gracias.

Shaun Ferrari (00:17:34) – You’re welcome. All right. So. Next, I’m going to toss it over to our colleagues over in the Asia region. Matt and Melanie.

Melanie Hawgood (00:17:49) – Okay. Thank you. Shaun. my name is Melanie. I’m based here in Malaysia. And Matt, I’ll let him introduce himself where he’s from.

Matt Lewis (00:17:59) – Yeah. Hi, everyone, and Shaun, thanks very much for for having us along here. My name is Matt Lewis, I am the vice president, of Asia Pacific. and I’m based in Brisbane in Australia.

Melanie Hawgood (00:18:16) – Yeah. So. And together we’re both looking after the region. I’m specifically focused at the moment on the Global Payments Summit, which is coming up in my hometown of Kuala Lumpur, which I’m really excited about, it’s great to have an event in my own city. So a lot less travel. And so what I’m really looking forward to discussing on the podcast and also at the conference is similar to what Gonz was talking about, with all the innovations happening in the instant payments and cross-border space, particularly in Asia. I personally feel they’re leading the way here, so lots to learn from this region and very excited to sort of show that show that all off. Matt, what are you looking forward to from your side?

Matt Lewis (00:19:05) – Yeah, it’s a bit the same, I guess for me. I’ve only recently joined the Currency Research team and and you know, I’m enjoying working with everybody. But, I guess, I’ve just recently had the opportunity to, to go up to Asia to work on one of the conferences, and that gave me the opportunity to meet, you know, some of the industry participants, to learn about what they’re doing, and to learn some of the innovations, and I think that’s the part that, what I’ll be looking to as we’re hearing about these things, trying to use the, the podcast to, to introduce them to, to more people. So I think that’s going to be great.

Melanie Hawgod (00:19:44) – Yeah. And yeah, like you said, Not just payments or some of the things you were doing or in the cash space on that trip. That’s a bit like what Tom was talking about, that super secret location we can’t talk about yet.

Matt Lewis (00:19:59) – Yeah, that’s right, that’s right, it is. And you’re right, it is. That and it’s across both. You’re right. The the banknotes, the cash and the payments industry. And I think as I immersed myself in the role, that’s the part that I, you know, it’s going to be interesting and some of the new technology and just getting that out to people will be great.

Melanie Hawgood (00:20:19) – Yeah. So look lot’s happening in Asia and Pacific Australia. It’s a big region. so we’re looking forward to bringing you all the news from here going forward. So thanks. Good to meet you all, and back to Shaun.

Matt Lewis (00:20:35) – Yeah. Thanks so much, everyone. Back to you, Shaun. See you mate.

Shaun Ferrari 2 (00:20:39) – Great. Thanks, everybody for those thoughts on what’s coming this year. I hope everybody listening, gets the sense that we’ve got a lot of great topics that we’re going to really be chatting about and digging into with industry experts, and we can’t wait, all of us can’t wait to do that. So we hope you come back and join us on one of our future episodes where one of the wonderful co-hosts that you just heard from Currency Research will be interviewing, somebody from around the world. And we look forward to seeing you around the world at one of our upcoming events and if you can’t make it to one of the events, and even if you can make it to the events, we really hope you join us every other week or so as we launch new podcast episodes digging into all these topics. Please do us a great favor and, like, share to really get the word out there about the podcast and help this grow as we bring more content to you. Also, as I mentioned, we are streaming on all of your favorite platforms. If you’d like to see the videos and that’s not on on the platform you’re on, you can always find that out or get that on our website and we look forward to to sharing that with you.

So once again, it’s been great talking to you. We can’t wait to have you join us with our next special guest the next time we come online, which will be in about two weeks. So thanks for for joining us, and we look forward to seeing you virtually here and somewhere around the world.

Podcast Outro (00:22:07) – Thank you for listening to The Pit Exchange, a podcast by Currency Research. Check out our upcoming events and publications at Currency Research. Com and join us for our next episode to hear what’s trending in payments, innovation and technology.

Hello, fellow podcasters and enthusiasts in the technology and finance sectors! We are the team behind the P.I.T. Exchange, the latest podcast series brought to you by Currency Research. As your hosts, we’re thrilled to embark on this journey, where we’ll be diving deep into the ever-evolving world of payments and technology.

Meet the Team

Our team is composed of seasoned professionals, each with a unique perspective on the industry:

  • Shaun Ferrari, our Vice President for Global Business Development, brings a wealth of knowledge in international finance.
  • Jens Seidl, CEO, is the visionary leading our strategic direction.
  • Tom Mitchell, Vice President for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, offers insights into these diverse markets.
  • Gonzalo Santamaria, Vice President Payments, adds his extensive experience to our discussions.
  • Sergio Sánchez, Vice President of the Americas, shares his expertise on the Western Hemisphere’s financial landscape.
  • Melanie Hawgood, Vice President of Asia Pacific (departing), provides an Asian perspective on the industry’s growth.
  • Matthew Lewis, Vice President of Asia Pacific, rounds out our team with his deep understanding of the region’s payment systems.

What’s in Store?

As we introduce ourselves in our inaugural episode, we’re also setting the stage for what’s to come. We’re excited to engage with industry experts and thought leaders who will shed light on topics like payment innovations, digital currency, cash, AI, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the global payments landscape.

The Future of Payments

The payments industry is at a pivotal point, with technology rapidly reshaping how we transact. We’ll explore the role of AI in creating more efficient and secure payment systems, the rise of digital currencies and their impact on traditional banking, and the ongoing relevance of cash in an increasingly digital world.

Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing

We believe that collaboration and knowledge sharing are key to understanding and navigating the complexities of our industry. Our discussions will not only highlight the diverse nature of the payments sector but also foster a community where ideas and strategies can be exchanged freely.

Join the Conversation

We invite you to join us on PIT Exchange as we delve into these topics and more. Our goal is to provide you with valuable insights and foster a dialogue that will help all of us stay ahead of the curve in this dynamic field.

Stay tuned for our upcoming episodes, where we’ll bring the voices of various regions and sectors to the table, offering a comprehensive view of the payments and technology landscape.

We hope you’re as excited as we are to explore the future of payments. Remember to subscribe to PIT Exchange and be part of the conversation that shapes the financial world of tomorrow.

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