Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to join the movers and shakers leading the charge in financial innovation at the State of Digital Money Conference in LA. Shortly after the conference, I shared a few highlights and thought provoking insights with The Bottom Line readers.
Now that the whirlwind of information from the conference has sunk in, I’ve handpicked my selection(s) for top trend, attraction, AI application, challenge and tips.
Top Trend in Fintech: “Building like Blockchain”
No, that’s not a typo. I did not mean to say “building blockchain technology” or the like. Companies continuously announce they are “building a better XYZ” and how their tech is “built differently.”
But, at what point do we decide we have the solid foundation needed to create something new, rather than just making it better? Many speakers at this conference echoed that sentiment.
Blockchain technology leverages data recorded in one block to verify information in the next instead of starting from scratch with each transaction. This drastically speeds up the time it takes to fully process transactions.
Hydrogen and other innovators at the conference have embraced this philosophy – rather than spending the time and money to recreate what already exists, they are developing new solutions that work seamlessly on top of current infrastructure.
Top Attraction: Vault Logic’s Cryptocurrency ATM
This, by far, was the most eye-catching element at the conference. Vault Logic’s ATM makes the process of investing in crypto seamless. It allows you to insert cash, buy crypto and store it. If you have an e-wallet, all you need to do is scan your phone, push a few buttons and voila – it’s stored. If you don’t have an e-wallet, the ATM will print a paper wallet right on the spot, which can later be transferred to a digital wallet.
Yes, Vault Logic simplifies the process of buying cryptocurrency, but it makes cashing out even easier – it’s just as simple as withdrawing cash from a bank ATM.
Top Application of AI: Verient
I was blown away by the current and soon-to-launch AI applications discussed at the conference, making this decision difficult.
Verient’s unique application of AI in lending let’s banks know which businesses may be in need of a loan and looks at companies’ inflow of payments and cash flow. This technology provides banks with a tool to spot profitable opportunities and vet potential clients without so much as a phone call.
Top Issue to Address: Women in Blockchain
If you attended the State of Digital Money, or even glanced at the agenda, you may be scratching your head wondering how you missed the conversation on women in blockchain. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything.
During one of the breaks between sessions, I met with Siri Srinivas, part of the investment team at Draper Associates, an early-stage VC firm. We noticed we were two of the only women in the room, which got us talking about women in fintech. I mentioned to Siri that I had quite a bit of difficulty finding women in blockchain/crypto when working to find speakers for a past conference.
Siri quickly jumped in saying there were MANY women in the industry who would make fantastic speakers. She asked to borrow my laptop and immediately started typing away. In in less than two minutes, there were about a dozen names on my computer.
Adding women to the blockchain conversation – whether at events, in the newspaper, etc. – is paramount. There are plenty of women who are experts on blockchain and crypto: Time to get them on stage and at the center of the conversation.
Top Tip to Fintech Entrepreneurs: Jim Kresge
Jim Kresge, Head of Digital Commerce Engineering at Capital One: “Obsess with scale from the beginning – don’t just build a better platform, think about how to get it in people’s hands.”