Hot Topics at Money 20/20

Note from the CEO: Hey, you all have heard “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, right? Well, not this time. Here is a great recap of ‘Money 20/20’ from all of us who didn’t spring for the big buck and bright lights.

In the financial services industry, blockchain looms as a large but distant and somewhat mysterious presence. A few forward-thinking bankers take it seriously and are trying to figure out how to turn it to their own advantage. Everyone else has heard about it, knows little about it, and is taking a wait-and-see approach.

The one thing everyone seems to agree on: They don’t want to make the same mistake with blockchain that they did a decade ago with PayPal, which was to ignore it completely, wait for it to go away, and then get surprised when it grows up and becomes a threat.

Instead of a single company, blockchain is a whole category of technologies — a movement embraced by thousands of people and hundreds of companies. The threat is actually much larger than that posed by PayPal (which, after all, is just another kind of bank now). It’s just that few in the financial services industry quite know what to do about it yet.

That’s the message I took from Money 20/20, a conference focused on financial technology that’s taking place this week in Las Vegas. It was my first time at the event, which has grown to enormous proportions in the four years since it was founded: 11,000 attendees and more than 400 exhibitors filled up the Venetian and Sands conference facilities. At $3,000 per ticket, roughly, that’s a lot of revenue — even before sponsorships. No wonder the founders were able to sell the event to i2i a year ago for a reported $100 million price tag.”

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