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Reportage from the show floor of Money 20/20 Las Vegas

Sometimes more is simply better

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.

 

Main take outs:

  1. Market pivots to b-to-b
  2. For companies looking for funding ‘profit’ over ‘growth’
  3. Everybody joins the conversation on ‘embedded finance’

 

As the proceeding swung into full-force on Sunday, cryto, Web3 and the metaverse led the charge. Regulation in the crypto and Web3 space was give particular attention, as the digital asset space is currently undergoing increased regulation. Jai Ramaswamy, Chief Legal Officer at Andreessen Horowitz. Jai 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.”

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.

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.

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 organization  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. “We are honoured to be known as the place to speak directly to the fintech industry.”

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 center 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 instead due to due diligence around issues like tax avoidance, tax evasion, money laundering, and terrorist financing.

Money 20/20 Las Vegas 2022: an amazing conference. A deep dive in fintech and financial innovation for four days. Clearly the biggest show in the industry. Now Money 20/20 announced it will return to Asia (Bangkok) in 2024 it manifest itself as the leading platform for the industry.

 

Written by:
Richard Neve
Managing Director / Partner at Cognito.

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Find out more about Cognito here.

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