Money20/20 Conference Recap: Infrastructure, Transformation and the Future of Digital Currency
With over 10,000 attendees — 1,000 of them CEOs — from more than 3,000 companies across 75 countries, it’s no wonder the Money20/20 conference is a big draw. This year’s meetup in Las Vegas leveraged more than 500 speakers to highlight emerging trends in finance technology. Blockchain stole the show, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg; here’s a recap of 2016’s conference highlights:
One key takeaway from this year’s conference was the role of digital transformation — and disruption — in payment processor and financial institution success. Five years ago, firms relied on human capital to jump-start disruption in their respective markets, but the advent of cloud computing and mobile-first banking has changed the way both consumers and companies view the finance industry, prompting a reevaluation of transformation priorities. Consider a rundown of new partnerships and initiatives announced at the Money20/20 conference, detailed by the Credit Union Times:
- Canada-based BioConnect Inc. has teamed up with U.K. firm VoiceVault to link voice recognition software with BioConnect’s Identity Platform; this emerging, multilayered ID discipline plays a critical role in safeguarding consumer transactions and credit details.
- French firm TagPay introduced a mobile, digital banking platform that lets partner banks leverage mobile phone penetration in any country regardless of telecom provider, allowing users to conduct fully digital transactions.
- Signature processing firm DocuSign rolled out its new platform innovation: a partnership with payment processor Stripe that promises to deliver both instant payment and error-free contract-to-payment services.
Infrastructure evolution also received a signal boost at the Money20/20 conference, with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray detailing new FinTech products and services that have “enormous potential to improve the financial lives of consumers.” The highlights include infrastructure expansion by major credit players, which should pave the way for more than 45 million Americans with little or no credit history to obtain credit access, and the modernization of mortgage platform to enable improved loan servicing and greater flexibility for consumers. Cordray also detailed the evolution of CFPB’s consumer complaint process, which uses a custom API to permit data searching, sorting and filtering based on specific criteria or tags. The ultimate goal? “Building web-based tools to help people make financial decisions.”
The lion’s share of conference time, however, focused on the evolution of blockchain services and their impact on the finance sector at large. As noted by VentureBeat, many companies still aren’t sure how to approach digital currency but are confident it plays a key role in the evolution of financial services. Unlike PayPal — which most financial institutions ignored until it was too late and the digital payment service began encroaching on their territory — organizations want to get behind blockchain and make it work for them.
The problem? There’s still a great deal of confusion. While the original Bitcoin blockchain has not been compromised, there’s actually no such thing as “the blockchain,” but rather a host of blockchain-based services that use public ledgers to ensure transactions are fair and cannot be duplicated. Redundant hosting, meanwhile, means no single point of control or failure exists.
Beyond the Money20/20 Conference
So what does the future hold? The VentureBeat piece predicts the rise of Bitcon- and blockchain-based stock exchanges, in addition to linked blockchains to enhance security. According to Bitcoinist, meanwhile, some companies are already moving forward with blockchain-based services: Visa has partnered with digital currency infrastructure firm Chain to create B2B Connect, which leverages blockchain-based international payments for B2B transactions. According to CEO Adam Lubin of Chain, the use of blockchain “enables a new medium for money.”
The takeaway from Money20/20? Transformative digital partnerships are on the rise, new payment infrastructure should help protect and empower consumers and blockchain — although not yet fully understood — is on the cusp of disrupting the mainstream financial market.