2016 Money 20/20 preview: What not to miss at this year’s event

I admit it — I’m late to the party. This will be my first time attending the Vegas fintech love fest known as Money 20/20. The event organizers expect more than 10,000 attendees at this year’s event, easily making it the largest conference focused on financial technology. Money 20/20 is heavily rooted in payments but there are multiple tracks for attendees, including retail & commerce, security, digital banking, and entrepreneurship & investing.

Here’s what you’re going to want to pay attention to at this year’s Money 20/20.

Distributed ledgers

This year’s conference takes blockchain and distributed ledger technologies seriously. It’s no longer just a hypothetical discussion when it comes to blockchain. Executives at firms like Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Nasdaq, and CSFB will discuss blockchain’s eventual impact on trade finance, capital markets, cross-border payments, and securities trading.

Though probably not the most impactful discussion, look for tØ’s Blockchain-Based Securities Trading Platform Moves Closer to Launch. Overstock’s fintech subsidiary is building the world’s first platform for the exchange of securities on blockchain technology. Overstock’s CEO Patrick Byrne is expected to introduce the tØ blockchain shares trading portal and announce an important new milestone in the effort to bring this type of technology to Wall Street.

Here come tech incumbents to fintech

We’re so focused on how incumbent financial institutions are responding to competitive stimuli from upstart fintechs that we forget that probably the largest emerging competitive force is building entirely elsewhere. Tech firms like Google, Facebook, and Amazon are deadset on competing in finance and Money 20/20 this year should shed some light on their plans. Leading technology players will explore social commerce, marketing loyalty, in-store mobile payments, and mobile wallets.

Rising China

China is playing an increasingly important role in global fintech and this year’s Money 20/20 reflects that. Attendees will explore the opportunities and challenges for Western players against the backdrop of an increasingly influential Chinese fintech scene. In fact, the first keynote of the conference will be from Alipay International’s Douglas Feagin.

Collaboration between fintech startups and incumbent financial institutions

In the past, there was a lot of excitement about the growth of standalone fintech startups. This year’s event zeroes in on how to craft winning relationships via partnerships and even takes a step further as it explores SaaS fintech solutions, like in Banks & Alternative Finance: From Partnerships To Lending-as-a-Service.

Open APIs are also getting their share of the spotlight. Open Bank APIs & The Future of Collaboration in Financial Technology will include participants from BBVA and ACI Worldwide with Dwolla, Plaid, and BankMobile.

What about marketplace lending?

With all the hubbub around Lending Club, Prosper, and marketplace lending in general, this year’s Money 20/20 conference will try to chart a path forward for the nascent online lending industry. Check out Consumer Lending Roundtable: The Future of Online & Marketplace Lending for a panel that includes Avant’s Al Goldstein and Dianrong’s Soul Htite.

If lending to the underserved is a sub theme in this year’s event, so is exploring ways to enable that type of lending. One such panel of note is one on alternative credit scoring models. The big three credit bureaus will be participating as well as a couple of startups.

We’ll explore many of the same topics at Tradestreaming Money 2016 on November 14 in New York City. To see who’s speaking and who’s attending from the top financial institutions in the world,  learn more and register here.