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3 open initiatives transforming global finance

Learn how these open initiatives offer a solution for a more equitable and efficient financial system.

The global financial system is riddled with challenges that hinder its inclusivity, efficiency, and security. Transaction costs are high, cross-border payments are slow, and access to financial services is limited in many parts of the world. 

High transaction costs

In the traditional financial system, transferring money, especially across borders, can be expensive. According to the World Bank, the average cost of sending $200 in remittances was 6.5% in 2020. These high fees disproportionately affect those who can least afford them, such as migrant workers sending money back home to support their families.

Slow cross-border payments

Cross-border payments are notoriously slow, often taking several days to process. This delay can be a significant barrier for businesses and individuals who need timely access to funds. The inefficiencies in the current system stem from the multiple intermediaries involved in processing these transactions.

Limited financial inclusion

A significant portion of the global population remains unbanked or underbanked, lacking access to basic financial services. According to the World Bank, around 1.7 billion adults worldwide are unbanked. This exclusion from the financial system limits their ability to save, borrow, and invest, perpetuating cycles of poverty.

Security challenges

The financial system also faces significant security challenges. Cyberattacks on financial institutions can lead to massive data breaches and financial losses. According to Accenture, cybercrime could cost the global banking sector over $350 billion over the next five years. The current centralized systems can become single points of failure, making them attractive targets for cybercriminals.

Let’s explore how leveraging open protocols and initiatives can address these issues and create a more equitable and efficient financial system for all.

Embracing open initiatives

Open initiatives offer a solution to these challenges by promoting interoperability, reducing costs, and enhancing security and transparency. Here are a few promising initiatives:

Open banking

The open banking initiative aims to provide third-party developers access to bank data through open APIs, fostering competition and innovation in the financial services industry. 

In the UK alone, open banking has led to the development of over 230 regulated providers, benefiting millions of users with enhanced financial services. These solutions can provide affordable banking services to those who previously had no access, enabling them to save, borrow, and invest more easily.

By utilizing open APIs and standardized protocols, open banking improves the security of financial transactions. These standards ensure that data is securely shared and accessed only by authorized parties, reducing the risk of fraud and cyberattacks.


The Fintech Open Source Foundation (FINOS) is another key player driving open source collaboration in finance. FINOS provides a platform for financial institutions, technology companies, and individual developers to work together on open source projects that address real-world challenges. 

Projects under FINOS cover a range of areas, including data interoperability, regulatory compliance, and trading platforms. For instance, the FDC3 (Financial Desktop Connectivity and Collaboration Consortium) project aims to standardize communication and data sharing between financial applications, improving efficiency and reducing operational costs.

Initiatives like FINOS enhance security by fostering a collaborative environment where developers can work together to identify and address vulnerabilities. Open source projects benefit from the scrutiny of a global community, making them more secure and resilient against cyberattacks.


tbDEX is an open source protocol and messaging library designed to facilitate decentralized exchanges, making it easier for people to trade assets without a central authority. This decentralization can significantly lower transaction costs and open up financial opportunities for those in regions with limited access to traditional banking services. 

By eliminating the need for intermediaries, tbDEX lowers the costs associated with asset trading. This reduction in transaction fees is particularly beneficial for individuals and small businesses in developing regions who might otherwise be excluded from global markets due to high costs.

tbDEX enhances cross-border transactions by using open standards such as decentralized identifiers (DIDs) and verifiable credentials (VCs). These technologies provide a secure and trustworthy way to verify identities and credentials across borders, reducing the risk of fraud and simplifying compliance with international regulations. This makes cross-border transactions faster, cheaper, and more secure, benefiting businesses and individuals engaged in international trade.

The benefits of embracing open protocols and open source software in the financial sector are increased innovation, reduced costs, enhanced security, and greater financial inclusion. 

By supporting open initiatives, we can work together to build a financial system that is accessible to everyone, regardless of their location or financial status. Let’s share our experiences, support open source projects, and advocate for the adoption of open protocols in finance.

About the Author

Angie Jones is the Global Vice President of Developer Relations for TBD, the newest business unit of Block focused on open source financial protocols.

Read Angie Jones's Full Bio

The opinions expressed on this website are those of each author, not of the author's employer or All Things Open/We Love Open Source.

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