Highlights of 2017 Money 20/20

By Vivian El-Salawy on November 3, 2017

Money 20/20, the world’s largest payments and financial services innovation event, recently took place in Las Vegas. At the event, companies and technologies of all kinds were showcased, including digital ledger technology, on-demand insurance, artificial intelligence, and other technological advancements with financial services.

The various speakers, panels, and booths had a plethora of information and experiences to share with one another, leaving financial technology brains fulfilled by the end of the week. Here are some of the interesting highlights of the 2017 Money 20/20 conference.

Image via Money 20/20

Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology was a huge topic of interest at this year’s Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas. For those that are not familiar with blockchain, it is essentially a digital ledger technology that is used to organize and monitor transactions made in bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency. Many blockchain-based companies create their own cryptocurrencies, however, bitcoin is the most commonly utilized currency.

While blockchain is poised to be one of the fastest growing technologies, it is also avoided by many organizations because there is a lack of legitimacy in the usage of cryptocurrency. In many countries, such as China, cryptocurrency is often debated to be legal or illegal. The instability in this currency pushes away banks and other financial institutions.

Exhibit Hall at Money 20/20
Vivian El-Salawy

Interestingly enough, blockchain technology is also used in real-world applications with companies such as Everledger. Everledger focuses on securing transactions involved with luxury goods and reducing fraud in markets where provenance matters.

We started with diamonds, by analyzing the provenance of diamonds from the mine to the market,” says Candace Teo, head of PR & Communications for Everledger. “We ensure that the diamonds are derived from a reputable source. We look at who cuts them, who polishes them, and follow their progression into the market to ensure that the supply chain is ethical.”

Branching into real-world applications, perhaps this means that blockchain will be taking an even greater step into their involvement within society, despite the hesitation by insurance and bank companies. It has been trending, and this has been seen through its application on luxury goods as well, as EverLedger has recently branched into overlooking the purchases of fine wines.

With the “push” and “pull” of cryptocurrency, blockchain technology has taken some interesting, often unpredictable routes in its development. It will be interesting to see where it will go before the next Money 20/20 conference.

On-Demand Insurance

It sounds strange to have an insurance company be represented at a financial technology conference; however, what they brought to the conference was truly unique. While there was very little representation from insurance companies at this conference, Trov represented itself in a panel on the Tuesday of the event, blowing the minds of all the conference-goers in the room.

They began their presentation by pairing their concept with a well-loved topic: music. When the first album came out on a record, people lost their minds. They would buy them and listen to them over and over again, just to listen to their favorite music. Within 50 years, new innovations, such as tapes, CDs, and DVDs came to be. However, listeners still had to skim through an entire album for the enjoyment of one specific track.

In 2003, Apple introduced the ability to buy individual tracks off of an album for only 99 cents. This was a huge piece of news, as music consumers now could buy their favorite song on its own without having to pay for an entire album. This was great, but then people ended up spending up to $500 on 500 of their favorite songs.

The latest development was on-demand music streaming. The current leading streamer in the industry is Spotify, where you can listen to an entire album or just one song whenever you want, wherever you want, however you want.

This is what Trov embodies with the first-ever on-demand insurance, where you can instantly turn insurance on and off whatever you want, whenever you want, and wherever you want. When you purchase insurance from some of the largest insurance companies, you typically buy insurance for things that you don’t even understand. Many of these packages cover things you don’t need covered and aren’t flexible.

Trov presenting at Money 20/20
Image via Vivian El-Salawy

Trov believes that insurance needs fluctuate. Their platform provides a digital inventory that contains all of your favorite items: laptops, bicycles, cameras, and so on. With a simple swipe to the right, you can turn the insurance on for whichever product in the inventory. Similarly, if you swipe to the left, the insurance is instantly turned off.

Along with many other features, such as pairing items in the inventory and providing specialized accommodations for travel, this application goes above and beyond. Trov is currently being used in Australia and the U.K.; however, it will soon be making its way to the United States.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence tends to creep many out, but it has also been a hot topic for years now. The greatest thing it has brought to the financial technology world is efficiency.

qBotica is a new generation Robotics Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) services company that aims to help customers adopt robotic process animation. CEO Mahesh Vinayagam expressed his interest in focusing on smaller business and companies. By catering to realtors, smaller banks, and legal professionals, he believes that he can make a positive change in their workplace environments, essentially creating a better professional experience for their employees.

qBotica’s team at Money 20/20
Image via Vivian El-Salawy

What Vinayagam has noticed in smaller companies is that many employees are not given the opportunity to grow because they are overloaded with an abundance of tasks that are often not intellectually challenging.

“There is a restriction for people to grow because they become stuck in their responsibilities. As a result, they are unable to do what humans are made to do, which is to be creative and create new processes,” Vinayagam said.

This company is aimed at the middle and lower markets, helping them reach their individual highest potential. qBotica was excited to be in attendance at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas, showcasing their services and also exposing their own employees to the large world of financial technology.

This is just a taste of the many financial technology representatives at the conference. Four days of speeches, presentations, networking, and idea-sharing has led to the expansion of the financial technology world. The next Money 20/20 conference will be taking place in Amsterdam from June 4-6 of 2018.

Vivian El-Salawy is a graduate of Florida State University with a B.A. in Editing, Writing, and Media with minors in Slavic (Russian) Studies and Communications. Alongside writing for Uloop News, WVFS Tallahassee 89.7 FM, and editing for the Good Life Community magazine, she is heavily involved with a Tau Beta Sigma, a national honorary sorority that promotes women in the band profession.

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