The biggest Fintech conference ever is to be held on the 12th of April 2017 in London. The panel, exhibits, speakers, are a whose who of corporations. The Wall Street Journal is a platinum sponsor. IBM is there, Intel, Microsoft, Lloyds, Barclays, MasterCard, Deloitte and on and on.
The British Chancellor himself is to open the event that is preceded by Innovate Finance Global Summit to be opened by Tim Berners-Lee on April the 10th. The agenda has much focus on regulations, but blockchain technology appears to be worthy of merely a brief mention.
The agenda for the main summit, for example, only hints at it during one of the workshops where “blocks” are to be discussed. Undoubtedly blockchain related statements will be made, but the lack of any blockchain related panel or speaker seems to suggest either the technology has not yet gained sufficient attention or the conference organizers, which includes the UK’s Tresury, are somewhat out of touch on cutting edge developments.
The innovate summit has a bit more about blockchains. It includes a panel on the 11th of April where Distributed Ledger technology is to be discussed. Circle is an exhibitor there and Daniel Aranda, Managing Director in Europe of Ripple, is a speaker.
Hardly much, but blockchain technology is only a small part of Fintech, an industry which tends to raise some $20 billion a year in investment. Moreover, the event is very much at the highest level. Secretaries of State, Ministers, both British and German as well as from other European nations, CEOs of global companies, heads of regulatory agencies, such as Britain’s Financial Conducts Authority, and other global leaders, are to speak at the Fintech Conference.
The emphasis appears to be more general and a sort of high level overview. For example, Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said in a press release:
“We have a plan for Britain and a modern Industrial Strategy and I see FinTech as an essential sector as we forge new trading relationships within, and beyond, Europe.”
While Liam Fox, Secretary of State for the Department for International Trade, said:
“FinTech makes a huge contribution to our economy, and our knowledge, skills and expertise strengthens the UK’s position as a global leader. We have created the right environment for businesses to start and grow in this thriving sector, and with my department’s support and events like this international FinTech conference, we will help even more UK-based FinTech companies to capitalise on the international opportunities and attract inward investment to our shores.”
IoT, likewise, doesn’t get much love from the event, attracting only a brief mention, but there is a good reason why bureaucracy rarely tends to lead change, and usually only follows.
Nonetheless, despite these minor short-fallings, this is probably the biggest event of the year and the British Government deserves credit for showing a forward looking attitude towards innovation to the point of strongly cheerleading the hard work of the millennial generation.