Back to the Future of Money
This week, the FleishmanHillard team is again on the ground in Las Vegas as agency of record for Money20/20 USA, an annual conference that brings together thousands of leading companies and innovators in the payments, fintech and financial services space.
More than 400 speakers across 200 sessions will discuss where the industry is headed, how we’ll get there and the opportunities and challenges that will come along the way. Included in the line-up is a FleishmanHillard-moderated panel led by our chief strategy officer, Marjorie Benzkofer. We’ll provide recaps of key takeaways and themes covered during the conference, so check back here throughout the week and follow @Money2020 and @Fleishman for ongoing updates.
The conference kicked off Sunday with trending topics like blockchain, government regulation and cannabis banking. Below are a few takeaways from the first day.
Digital currency is one of the most popular trends in the financial services industry. Three separate panels focused on the topic, examining how digital currency can lead to enhanced customer experience and increased tracking capabilities. Another common theme looked at how technology could support underserved communities and promote financial inclusion.
The cannabis industry continues to evolve, and as more states legalize recreational use, banks and other financial institutions are exploring how to address it. In a cannabis banking workshop, panelists discussed the unique opportunities and problems with cannabis banking. This included the risk involved, both in terms of reputation as well as managing large amounts of cash. Experts noted that compliance is one of the key solutions to mitigating that risk, as well as access to more information and technology, like AI, and collaboration with regulators and industry leaders. Discussion also included whether the federal government will ever approve and regulate cannabis, with some predicting that they will leave it up to the states to manage regulations and oversight. Also highlighted were the regulations that are turning cannabis banking into one of the most transparent industries.
Fintech for Good
Money doesn’t grow on trees, but according to Douglas Feagin, president of International Business at Ant Financial, money can grow trees. During his session, Feagin discussed Alipay Ant Forest, the world’s largest environmental conservation platform for individuals. Through the program, Ant Financial rewards its users for making environmentally conscious purchasing decisions, giving them ‘green energy’ points that ladder up to the growth of a virtual tree in their personal app. Taking things one step further, after reaching a certain number of points, Ant Financial will plant a real tree in the deserts of Northwestern China. This is just one of the many sessions during this year’s conference that will focus on initiatives that are using fintech for good.