Capital Markets Insights

Money20/20 Europe - Baristas, BlockChain & Smoothie bars.

Money 20/20 came to Copenhagen, Denmark June 26th-28th and attracted over 6,000 attendees which places it among Europe's largest Fintech events. The momentum signals a growing regional interest in investment crowdfunding, peer to peer lending, investor management, robo advisors, cross border money flows, cryptocurrency and blockchain.

There were many great speakers and panelists and I identified three key trends that I believe will be central to the development of the European (and Global) Fintech Ecosystem:

  • Regulatory Sandbox Advancements
  • Blockchain-As-A-Service
  • Cashless Society

Regulatory Sandbox Advancements

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which is the equivalent to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), seems to be at the forefront on advancements of their regulatory sandbox. Singapore has outlined very clear rules and application procedures, and created an environment for firms to test their concepts within a flexible regulatory setting. While this presents opportunities for startups to test new ideas and gain market traction, the industry pushback is that no matter how good a Sandbox is, the concept is still an obstacle to innovation and implementation of Fintech solutions. A growing voice in the industry feels the sandbox concept is unnecessary and should be eliminated.

Blockchain-As-A-Service (BaaS)

One of the hottest headline topics of the event was Blockchain, no surprise, given all the possibilities that comes with unforgeable distributed ledgers. While popular public BlockChain systems like Ethereum are being used for development (including by Katipult), there are numerous other private BlockChain systems that are emerging and licensing their technology for recurring monthly fees. Dr Won-Pyo Hong, President and Head of Solutions at Samsung introduced their BaaS at Money 20/20.

From eHealthcare in Estonia securing their country’s 1 million health care to the State of Georgia in the US registering land titles and validating property related government transactions, BlockChain is set to be the next big thing since the Internet itself.

Cashless Society

Card payments played a key role in eliminating physical currency from many day to day transactions. Cryptocurrencies are poised to become the next technology that pushes our societies even further away from banknotes and coins. Russia, China, and many other large nations have announced plans to create their own cryptocurrencies which is the inflection point of mainstream acceptance and adoption.

As a native of Denmark, I found myself educating other conference attendees about the taxi companies and their unique markings such as ‘4x35’ and ‘4x27’. That led to a conversation about Uber and how comfortable it was to pay without cash or a card on hand as everything was handled by the app. Jack Dorsey - CEO of Square spoke during his keynote speech about magstripe cards being a brilliant invention; it works electronically and can even be used offline for making POS payments. Now digital and mobile payments have moved us even further away from physical currency, and closer towards a cashless society.