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Meet the Authors

Steeped in economics, network theory and standards-speak, Gottfried Leibbrandt has spent a lifetime in payments and enjoyed them every moment. 

After getting an MBA from Stanford Gottfried got down and dirty with payments at McKinsey where he was a partner and co-led the European payments practice. There he looked at everything payments, from operations in Spain to organisations and strategy in Poland. Gottfried then returned to academia and got a PhD from Maastricht in economics on the topic of network effects in payment systems. 

Following the completion of his PhD he joined Swift, where as CEO he oversaw the world’s largest payments dependency for the best part of a lively decade; during that time it was challenged by upstarts, used as a geopolitical football, was memorably exposed as the world’s best ever high-value theft device, and became a hotly disputed data repository.  

In 2019 he retired from Swift and has since filled his time writing this book, serving as a technical advisor to the Bank for International Settlements and as board member on FinTech start-up

Lacking an education in finance or economics or anything loosely germane to her varied career Natasha de Terán uses writing as a cover for learning about (the many) things she doesn’t understand.

After a decade on trading floors where she worked in the derivatives, money and bond markets, Natasha retrained as journalist. She soon learnt that writing about finance is harder than actually working in it and a decade of articles later she went back into the industry, this time working at the interface between the industry, regulators, policymakers and the media. By the time she joined Swift Natasha had spent 20 years in finance, knew her credit default swaps from her reverse repos, but had no idea how payments worked. Eight years at Swift and a book later, she believes she’s on her way. 

Natasha is a member of the Bank of England's CBDC Engagement Forum, a Non-resident Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a member of the Advisory Group on an International Strategy for Cybersecurity and the Global Financial System. She also sits on the UK’s Financial Services Consumer Panel and the Payment Systems Regulator Panel and served on the advisory panel to the Woolard Review of unsecured credit market regulation.


"A brilliantly engaging and accessible exploration of how money moves and where global financial power really lies."

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