February 17, 2021

11 Years of the Open Bank Project

An idea was born

In 2004, as Simon Redfern thought about corruption and its ills, he realised that we live in a world of limited transparency.

Yes, a company may publish yearly aggregated financial statistics online, but this information might not be timely or automatically posted and it may hide or modify crucial information. This is what makes corruption possible.

So Simon thought of a new kind of bank – an open, API-driven bank. The concept was simple and built on the shoulders of giants: Standardised RESTful JSON APIs protected by OAuth and powered by open source software could raise the bar of financial transparency and foster greater innovation around bank accounts.

Simon mentioned this idea to various friends, and one suggested – over a glass of whiskey and a game of chess – “Don’t do it for one bank, do it for all banks”.

And thus, the Open Bank Project was born: an open banking middleware and API management platform to help all banks create innovative applications, engage with the next generation of innovators, and find their place in the new API economy.

After pitching at ITEA2 and Pecha Kucha in Berlin in 2010, we started our journey down the unbeaten path of Open Banking.

UK Open Banking Working Group

Following our involvement in the UK Open Banking Working Group in helping to draft the UK Open Banking standards, regulatory authorities around the world became quickly intrigued by this transformative trend. They reached out to TESOBE to advise them in designing, testing and implementing their own open banking frameworks and API standards.

We’ve had the pleasure of working with regulators in Mexico, Portugal, Colombia, Peru and even Australia!

The team is grateful for having gained this unique perspective on open banking regulation applied to different regions with different needs, and we recognised that such important information should be shared with the rest of the open banking world.

Conferences & Hackathons

Since our inception, we’ve shared our expertise on global stages in front of thousands of banking professionals and regulators around the world.

In particular, we’ve co-organised and powered the world’s leading series of API conferences: APIDays London.

Simon Redfern speaking on a stage at APIDays 2019

Simon Redfern, APIDays 2019

But conferences aren’t the only events we’ve helped organise.

Hackathons are excellent drivers of innovation, which is why we take pride in the hackathons we’ve organised in the UK and USA, Jordan, The Netherlands, France, Australia, Italy, India, Ireland, South Korea,  and even online!

Through our efforts, we’ve helped establish strong partnerships by bringing together global banks and innovative new solutions, and have proudly driven financial technology innovation around the globe.

Banner showing a total of 4116 participants, 215 challenges, 60 hackathons, and 1367 solutions.

Our hackathons have been catalysts of innovation in leading banks, creating hundreds of fintech applications and building a community of over 11,000 developers around the world.

11,000 Developers in the OBP Ecosystem

TESOBE has always recognised the innovation potential of ecosystems in financial services and has therefore built an entire ecosystem of 11,000 innovators around the Open Bank Project.

Participants posing for a photo during the Citizen's Challenge hackathon in Boston.

The Citizen’s Challenge, Boston, 2018

Our community comprises solo developers, fintech startups, SMEs, and large companies such as other banks. This rich diversity has been a strong driver of innovation and has built a platform that addresses the multitude of challenges that surround open banking and open APIs.

Our belief in the power of ecosystems is strong, as is our trust in the potential of open source technologies.

Open Source, Open Standards

We’ve built the Open Bank Project to enable a better and more transparent open banking landscape by creating, leveraging, and promoting open source technologies and open standards.

The Open Bank Project is fully open source. We don’t hide crucial away parts, this means organisations can access all the latest source code at any time. We know that open source, when hardened for enterprise use, can better enable financial institutions to innovate and maintain control over the building blocks of their open banking initiatives.

We believe that open source can help democratise banking – it can make enterprise-grade software available to the smaller banks as well as the biggest. On top of increased security and reduced TCO, we believe open source is good for the spirit: developers don’t ever have to say goodbye to source code!

Simon with his back to the camera giving a talk during a hackathon

In addition to open source code, TESOBE is also a strong supporter of open standards, which are a key pillar of open banking. Open Bank Project has assisted over 50 financial institutions in implementing local API standards to accelerate their journeys using industry best practices.

Thanks to our continuous work and development alongside our clients and community, we have matured a platform covering several regulatory API standards, plus over 400 management, banking and open finance APIs, and a wide range of tools and capabilities that are key to becoming a leader in the new financial services ecosystem.

Open Bank Project and 2021

As nations around the world design and implement open banking and open finance frameworks, we are here to help our communities push the art of the possible and support banks, fintechs and regulators around the world on their open banking journeys.

On our 11th birthday, we’d like to thank our community, including our clients, partners, and the many developers and startups who make up the OBP ecosystem.

Thank you for trusting and supporting us throughout our journey towards a brighter, more transparent, future. We’re expecting great things in the Open Banking space in the next few years, and we’re proud to be a part of it.

Team at the dinner table

The team in a well-lit pub made of bricks

Simon, Elena and Tobias planting a plant