Copenhagen proves a safe bet to spend Money2020

In how many ways is Copenhagen like Las Vegas? Well for this week, Copenhagen has hosted Money2020, the FinTech conference that has run so successfully in Vegas over the last few years. Over 3,500 attendees shared ideas on which FinTech ideas will be the leaders (or the lost), how Blockchain as collective memory will change the world (at least 1/3rd of it), and whether competition or collaboration between established providers and disruptors would win (2–1 to competition).

The atmosphere was really buzzy — with everyone very keen to network and meet contacts new and old. Colleagues from London, San Francisco, Rome, Frankfurt and I met with old friends and new contacts, often under the huge Hogan Lovells banner in the main hall — a great landmark! There was no shortage of places to meet and discuss the direction of the market, whether many established players were becoming more Fin than Tech, and whether start-ups had enough access to support to understand the impacts of law and regulation and the approach of regulators to their sector. Should we choose the smoothie bar, the Speakers’ Corner, one of the booths in the main hall, over lunch or dinner or in one of the many other places available? I even had a couple of walking meetings.

There were hundreds of formal speaking sessions too. Our own Veronica McGregor starred in an entertaining panel on blockchain and helped enlighten the Conference on the developing legal/regulatory framework for blockchain at this early stage.

I learnt a lot. A bit about bitcoin, a lot about bitgold (nothing to do with digital currency) and coinprism (more blockchain) and about various other combinations of bit, coin and something else and even some about exciting new products combining payments and data analytics from my friends at Paysafe.

Some said there’s capital chasing opportunities; others that start-ups are finding it more difficult to find funding. I say twas ever thus — there is funding available for the right tech/business models (and some bad ones) and it’s important to find the best ways to bring them together.

I ended the Conference by attending two drinks (and food) events in a row. As well as the quality of the locally brewed Carlsberg, a recurring theme was the impact of a potential Brexit not only on the UK but also on the FinTech industry more generally and location of businesses looking for the right state as their base for European passporting.

To sum up the event, one journalist told me he thought it was certainly the best European Payments Conference so far, a veteran of Vegas Money2020 said that it had gone well for the European “rookie event”, and some just wanted to talk about the party on Tuesday night. I thought it was an excellent event that combined the formal sessions with plenty of opportunity to find time to sit (or walk) and discuss the direction FinTech is taking.

This blog post was originally published on the Innovate Finance Website on 8 April 2016

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