What would we do without online banking?

A stupid question.


After all, online banking is only a few years old. The banks have invested so much in security systems and, in any case, they’ve closed down most of their local branches.

And almost all of our other transaction are now online – stock trading, online retail, passport applications, the list goes on and on.

The world couldn’t go back to how it was before. It’ll never happen. That would break everything.

  • Amazon Prime OneClick – Guaranteed One Day Delivery (after we’ve processed your cheque)
  • Transfer money between accounts – please come into the nearest branch (only twenty miles away)

It wasn’t so long ago, but it does seem so far, far away.

There is one common factor which underpins the systems which hold up our world. The cement which holds together this structure of hidden, and misunderstood foundation blocks is a set of protocols which securely identify all of the players in the system. Whether you are an individual or a business it is essential that you can prove that you are who you say you are. Without that, everything breaks.

I have discussed some of the issues around privacy and passwords in other blogs and most people would (reasonably) assume that the legitimate forces of good would continue to outsmart the criminal forces of evil by developing more sophisticated security at every turn. People can be forced to use more complex passwords, fingerprint or iris readers; it would be inconvenient, but there are many options.

But the future isn’t certain, and developments in quantum computing and nanotechnology may mean that all of these security systems can be easily and cheaply hacked.

How many emptied bank accounts would it take before the banks had to call time on internet banking? How many fraudulent, malicious or frivolous orders would it take to break the online retail business model?

And how rich would someone be if they came up with the only solution to prevent this happening?


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