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Track: Advances in FinTech

Location: Windsor, 5th flr.

Day of week: Monday

Finance is king in London. What's happening and what should you be paying attention to with modern #FinTech

Track Host: Greg Hawkins

Former Chief Technology Officer @starlingbank

Greg Hawkins is an independent consultant on tech, fintech, cloud and devops and advisor to banks in the UK and Australia. He was CTO of mobile challenger Starling Bank from 2016-2018, during which the fintech start-up acquired a banking licence and went from zero to smashing through the 100K download mark on both mobile platforms. He remains a senior advisor to Starling Bank today. Starling built full-stack banking systems from scratch, became the first publicly available cloud-based current account in the UK and the first UK bank with PSD2-capable open APIs and was voted Best British Bank and Best British Current Account in 2018.

10:35am - 11:25am

Habito: The Purely-Functional Mortgage Broker

The tech stack a business chooses impacts the company in many ways - who joins, what they build, what their values are and, ultimately, whether or not the enterprise succeeds. While in recent years functional programming has seen a resurgence, it remains a niche choice that to many highly pressured start-ups might look risky. Habito, the leading digital mortgage broker, is now in its third year. With several major accolades to its name already, the fact that it is built on a purely-functional tech stack sometimes slips under the radar. Habito VP of Engineering, Will will take you through the details, wins and trade-offs that have brought Habito to where it is today and where it's going next.

Will Jones, VP of Engineering, @Habito

11:50am - 12:40pm

Corda: Looking Forward and Back, Blockchain on a JVM Stack

Blockchain, as originally designed by Satoshi Nakamoto, is perfect for censorship-resistant cash transfers – and completely unsuitable for enterprise use. In this talk, we'll discuss Corda, an open-source enterprise blockchain backed by a consortium of over 100 companies that was the fastest-growing blockchain by usage in 2018 according to Gartner. We'll look at how Corda's success depends on bold choices past (Kotlin, JVMs, pluggable consensus...), present (the non-profit Corda Foundation...) and future (interoperability between blockchains).

Carolyne Quinn, Associate Director @inside_r3 (R3)
Mike Ward, Head of Product @inside_r3 (R3)

1:40pm - 2:30pm

Panel: Bleeding Edge at Hyperspeed With No Breaks and No Breaches

Today’s fintech speakers are working with new tech, niche tech and new techniques in a regulated industry which has traditionally been hostile to such things. Even if we believe the benefits, what about the risks? How can you be safe and secure when you release many times a day or when you live outside the support of an ecosystem of a billion Java developers and costly third party support contracts. This is people’s money we’re talking about. And how do you convince regulators, auditors and customers?

Greg Hawkins, Former Chief Technology Officer @starlingbank
Jason Maude, Lead Engineer @StarlingBank
Suhail Patel, Backend Engineer @Monzo
Ana Calin, Systems Engineer @paybase
Will Jones, VP of Engineering, @Habito
Carolyne Quinn, Associate Director @inside_r3 (R3)

2:55pm - 3:45pm

Scaling for the Known Unknown

Monzo’s recent crowdfunding was run entirely through its app, using the very same platform that runs the bank! How were we so sure we could handle the flood of users wanting to invest, without impacting the experience of those depending on it for everyday banking? In the weeks before the crowdfunding, we spent time running tests to simulate the extra load, enhancing the platform to sustain it and making sure that we were prepared.


Suhail will explain how Monzo prepared for the event which saw more than 9,000 people investing in the first five minutes. He will cover Monzo's microservice architecture (on Go and Kubernetes) and how we profiled and optimised key platform components such as Cassandra and Linkerd.

Suhail Patel, Backend Engineer @Monzo

4:10pm - 5:00pm

Powering Flexible Payments in the Cloud With Kubernetes

FinTech remains a daunting ecosystem for new entrants but increasing numbers of tech start-ups are showing how it's done. Paybase's journey to market-ready end-to-end payments service provider solution for marketplaces and gig-sharing economies, involved building a scalable payments platform while balancing innovation with reliability and some strict constraints in compliance and risk. Ana will cover the technical and security challenges they faced and the lessons they learned along the way as they built Paybase's cloud-native microservices infrastructure (GCP, Kubernetes) and integrated with old-world, traditional systems.

Ana Calin, Systems Engineer @paybase

5:25pm - 6:15pm

Open Banking - Tales From the Frontier

As open banking becomes more accepted and demanded by the public, banks and other financial institutions all have to find ways of sharing customers' data in a consensual and secure manner, as well as allowing third parties to perform financial transactions on behalf of customers. Starling Bank’s APIs and marketplace enable us to do these things, and this talk will focus on the successes and pitfalls we encountered in building it. We will cover topics such as the OAuth security flow, the permissions-controlled API, obtaining permissions for third party actions, and verifying payees between banks.

Anca Zaharia, Software Engineer @StarlingBank
Jason Maude, Lead Engineer @StarlingBank

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