Having attended Sibos since way back when, I was sad to miss it this year. I got double-booked to be in Vegas at the Venetian to keynote with BAI RD2015. Surprisingly, I’ve been back in Vegas (why is it always Vegas, and not Las Vegas?) to speak at Money2020 just 10 days later.
Money2020 is an enigma and a phenomenon. Created by Anil Aggarwal, Simran Rekhi Aggarwal and Jon Weiner in 2011, it’s grown rapidly to become the biggest tradeshow in banking. How? Why? Now I know why. It has nothing to do with banking.
Aw, c’mon Chris. A show called Money surely has something to do with Banking. Yes and no. My experience this week has made me realise that this show is far more about Fintech. The majority of sessions have been presentations and keynotes by start-ups, blockchain companies, bitcoin aficionados and mobile money companies. There has been hardly any presentation by banks, and the ones that have been presented with banks have been poorly attended.
The two highlights of the week have been keynote interviews with Patrick Collison, CEO and Co-Founder of Stripe, and Bob Greifeld, CEO of NASDAQ. They both provided great insights into the state of the industry. You can read a great write-up of Patrick’s speech by Bailey Reutzel of PaymentsSource, and of Bob’s speech by Laura Shin of Forbes if you want the deep dive, but my skinny on these two speech would be that Patrick gave you what you need to know as a start-up and Bob what you need to know as an incumbent.
Patrick’s key comments included:
- that you mustn’t get distracted and try to diversify from your core product as a start-up;
- their core product is the API of paying, and enriching that with information services and added value;
- find good partners like pinterest, twitter and Apple;
- equally, be open to everything, e.g. when Stripe started, crowdfunding was not on the map and yet Kickstarter and Indiegogo are now their biggest users;
- equally, rather than trying to attack the incumbent, consider if you can work with them;
- that blockchain is a key technology for transacting, but too many blockchain start-ups are focusing on the technology solution, rather than the user’s problems;
Probably the most retweeted of my quotes from his keynote is the fact that Stripe is focused upon building the new roads for transacting on the internet, rather than the cars which he equated to the products that run on those roads. Nice and neat, and clearly showed that Patrick is a really bright guy. It’s no wonder he’s a successful entrepreneur.
Equally, I felt the same about Robert (Bob) Greifeld of Nasdaq. Not a young start-up entrepreneur, but a career financial guy (as shown by his suit and tie), but he also made a stunning statement: NASDAQ can now clear and settle trades on the exchange in ten minutes or less.
I’m going to repeat that: NASDAQ can now clear and settle trades on the exchange in ten minutes or less.
This is important guys. Most exchanges clear and settle in days. How can NASDAQ do this in minutes?
On the blockchain of course. Working with Chain, another bright start-up I spoke to this week, NASDAQ has created a clearing and settlement system that can process private market trades in ten minutes. What does this mean for the DTCC, Euroclear, TARGET2 and the other CCP and CSD systems around the world?
Bob raised that question and made it clear that the DTCC was created by an Act of Congress because Wall Street’s paper processing was constraining the markets back in the 1960s. Now we’re in the age of the internet, the DTCC might survive for a while but, long-term, “blockchain will fundamentally alter financial structures”.
And this kind of sets the scene for my initial take on Money2020, the Sibos for Fintech. Much of the week has been on the leading edge of innovation with firms from cryptocurrencies to crowdfunding to peer-to-peer lending to peer-to-peer payments to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Chase Pay and more.
There have been lots of announcements here and lots to see and do. There’s a buzz that makes this show worth attending and for every banker I met, I stumbled over three or four new guys doing something different.
I’ll probably write a few more specifics of what came out of the week next week but, for now, bye-bye Money2020 and hello Money2020 Europe 2016.
Congratulations to Anil, Simran and Jon, and keep up the good work.