Unique wrapup of Cash 20/20 Las Vegas
Richard Neve, managing director at Cognito Media Amsterdam, has done a full rundown of the most relevant topics that buzzed on the show floor of Money 20/20 Las Vegas.
Money20/20 USA just finished and there were over 400 speakers across six stages and people joined from over 90 countries to experience the ‘state-of-fintech’. This year’s content was led by discussions on Open Banking, regulation, all-things crypto and capped by appearances by Serena Williams and Derek Jeter.
Crypto, Web3 and the Metaverse
As the proceeding swung into full-force on Sunday, crypto, Web3 and the metaverse led the charge. Regulation in the crypto and Web3 space was given particular attention, as the digital asset space is currently undergoing increased regulation. Jai Ramaswamy, Chief Legal Officer at Andreessen Horowitz sat down with Eric Golden, Host of Web3 Breakdowns, to discuss rationally regulating Web3. Jai said that when it comes to regulating the base layers of technology we’re seeing today, financial regulators are ‘least competent to make design decisions,’ continuing, ‘I think the industry needs to think carefully about how that base layer can be regulated through self-regulation, through standard setting bodies and through best practices.’
Metaverse will have an economic value between USD 8 trillion and USD 13 trillion, with about 5 billion users, according to Sophia Bantanidis, Future of Finance at Citi Global Insight. Banks need to facilitate payments and provide credit, to support transactions that will take place in the metaverse. Bantanidis continued to indicate that we are nowhere near where we need to be with the technology that is required to power the metaverse – ‘that will involve an massive investment so that we can have this enhanced digital experience,’ she said.
Forecast: It will take time, but all the prognoses point to the fact that it will be a whole new universe out there, including payments.
Monday’s events also kicked off in the crypto space, with how blockchain technology has the ability to become the method of payment for the future. This discussion featured Serena Williams, Takis Georgakopoulos, Global Head of Payments at J.P. Morgan and Scarlett Sieber, Money20/20’s Chief Strategy & Growth Officer, who more broadly talked about changes in consumer shopping habits and the influence of social media, the emergence of smart devices, and the blurring of the lines between the online and offline world.
And this wasn’t the only crypto talk during the day, as May Zabaneh, VP of Product, Blockchain, Crypto & Digital Currencies at PayPal and Jess Houlgrave, Head of Crypto Strategy at Checkout.com and CNBC Reporter Hugh Son took on crypto payments. Paypal, interestingly, said it was open to exploring crypto payments in efforts to make payment systems better, the technology behind crypto has the power to change payments and it will almost certainly find its way into payments infrastructure, sooner or later.
Technology, innovation, and a focus on LATAM
China and the US are in a technology race. A technology race is good for the planet, but people’s self-interest will determine how they use those capabilities. All new platforms will open up possibilities for entrepreneurs. Indian entrepreneur Vinod Khosla: ‘Maybe funding is harder to get these days, but if you get it, your competitors also aren’t going to be funded as easily, and maybe not with as much money.’ So raised capital will have much more impact than it would have been two or three years ago.
Forecast: The sector will continue to innovate. Entrepreneurs will continue to play an essential role in driving technology forward. Investments will be needed and for strong businesses will continue to be available.
Onlyfans also took to the stage and spoke on the growing creator economy and how payments are the heart of their operation and that they’re a fintech company at heart. ‘To be a truly international social media platform payment network, [payment] has to be as smooth as it is to go from US to US, as it is to go from US to UK or Japan,’ CFO Lee Taylor. said.
Forecast: All companies are publishers now and all people are or can be creators. To monetise this payment technology will need to keep up and integrate seamless with the platforms people flock to.
On a geographical focus, Latin America’s potential for impact on the global ecosystem also dominated many conversations. Cash is king in Latin America, with 58% of point-of-sale purchases still done in cash. There is a clear need for frictionless cross-border payments. About 70% of LatAm is currently unbanked offering a huge opportunity for growth, which is why VC’s invested USD 15 billion in Latin America this year – more investment than the previous six years in total.
Forecast: For a mirage of reasons Latin-America is a continent to watch. Strong demographics make strong economies and Latam has a lot to offer to ambitious companies, both from the region and from elsewhere.
Open Banking takes over new markets
The theme of third day was regulation and innovation, with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) and Federal Reserve taking stage. The CFBP’s Director, Rohit Chopra, exclusively announced that the organisation will activate authority under Section 1033 of the Consumer Financial Protection Act, which will obligate financial institutions to share consumer data upon consumer requests. This Open Banking practice will accelerate a more decentralized consumer financial market structure and has the potential to reshape how companies compete in this sphere. ‘The choice by the CFPB to make such a significant statement on the Money 20/20 stage solidifies our position as, not only the leading global fintech show, but the destination for industry-changing news announcements,’ said Scarlett Sieber.
Chopra’s colleague, Ashwin Vasan, Senior Advisor, noted that regulation is needed, but it can’t get in the way of innovation in the industry. ‘Dynamic regulatory change is happening and will continue to escalate in this current adverse climate. The regulators need to be front and centre as customers will require more protection in these uncertain times,’ Vasan said.
Christopher Waller, Board Member of the Federal Reserve, took the stage and discussed cross-border payments and remarked that a key reason they are slow, are due to regulatory hurdles. ‘Cross Border payments take a lot of time and they’re costly. I always try to remind people that lag is self-imposed by regulators,’ Waller said. ‘If a bank wanted to [send] a payment between you and a customer in Japan, and there was nothing to worry about, they could do that in seconds.’
The current lag is due to due diligence around issues like tax avoidance, tax evasion, money laundering, and terrorist financing.
Concluding, the fintech ecosystem is thriving and full of energy. Everybody in Las Vegas understands there will be challenging times ahead, but with the opportunities that Web3, metaverse, and a pivot to B2B solutions offer entrepreneurs, startups and scaleups in the fintech space will be looking at a bright future. Money 20/20 continues to provide the stage, the platform where the industry meets. Expecting all stakeholders to return to the European edition in Amsterdam, June of next year.
About Richard Neve
Richard Neve is managing director at Cognito Media Amsterdam. He started his career as journalist working at magazines like Banking Review, FEM and Money. Richard transitioned to public relations when joining CNBC in the nineties and has been advising companies in financial services on their external communications event since.
About Cognito Media
Cognito is an award winning full-service agency for PR and marketing with a 100% focus on companies in financial services and financial technology. With over 80 people and eight offices Cognito offers a global service.