Money20/20, the world’s largest payments and fintech conference, continued in Singapore yesterday, with financial and fintech leaders sharing their insights and sparking discussion. First to India…
Fast track to a cashless/less-cash society
Thanks to multiple forces, India is fast becoming a data-rich nation, according to Madhivanan Balakrishnan, Chief Technology & Digital Offer, ICICI Bank. Working in tandem, financial institutions, big tech, fintech and government are enabling frictionless banking and AI-enhanced services. Addressing India’s currency reform, he said that demonetization that would’ve previously taken two-to-three years happened in a period of three months. One year on, there is a new normal in India. Around 40% of the population are now digitally active; the cash-to-digital ratio has improved; and an excluded population is coming into the banking sector. IndiaStack and its unique identity platform, along with GST reform and the UPI are all helping to accelerate the shift to a less-cash society.
Mobile payments at top speed
Google’s mobile payments service for India, Tez (which means ‘fast’ in Hindi), is unique in that it is compelling across different demographics. Launched less than six months ago, it already has users across 200,000 towns and cities and more than two-thirds of transactions come from beyond India’s major urban centers. A big part of its appeal is that its interface is designed to enable conversation, reflecting that every payment is part of an interaction. It’s also simple and intuitive. Diana Layfield, VP, Next Billion Users, explained that these features are a result of Google’s singular approach to product development: building products that solve problems at scale without an initial focus on monetization.
The power of the dark side
Cryptocurrency is here to stay, and so is crypto-crime, warns the Ethical Hacker Ralph Echemendia, Founder & CEO of Seguru. An individual investor can use cold storage to protect their cryptocurrency wallet, but crypto exchanges and ICOs are vulnerable. A recent study by EY of 372 ICOs estimates that 10% of the funds raised, some $400 million, has been “lost” – hijacked by hackers or inaccessible because of forgotten passwords. Hackers have ways to get around blockchain. Mobile devices are another weak link. Mobile ransomware surged 415% last year, with malware related to mobile banking doubling.
The risks of AI
Artificial intelligence (or augmented intelligence, if you prefer) has made its way into almost every keynote and many casual conversations at Money20/20 Asia so far. Nuno Sebastiao, Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO of Feedzai, took on the challenge of addressing the risks of AI from center stage. For a start, criminals are now using the same machine-learning techniques to launch attacks that companies use to build their defenses. But we also have to consider the danger of AI itself—unchecked AI that has not been created thoughtfully or appropriately approved and that does not have humans in the loop to decide when it is properly deployed. The entire financial services industry needs to discuss AI and business leaders have to have a hand in creating AI systems.
SEA fintechs set for expansion
Unveiling the findings of its Asean FinTech Census 2018 at Money20/20 Asia, EY revealed that 87% of the region’s fintech firms have plans to expand beyond their current markets in the next 12 months. In fact, 77% believe that they will be able to compete internationally, with the US, UK and China being preferred destinations. Funding remains a challenge however, with 45% relying on self-funding, and talent shortages are an acute issue, with 60% citing a lack of start-up or fintech talent in their market. Fintech firms are looking to government policies to help in both these areas.
Ant advocates for an open ecosystem
Ant Financial hosted Asia’s first Ant Technology Exploration Conference outside of China at Money20/20 Asia. Experts dove deep into blockchain, AI, security, IoT and computing to investigate how technology can help bring banking services to the 2 billion people around the world who lack them today.
Join us for our Day Three snapshot tomorrow as Asia’s first Money20/20 closes with insights from the likes of GoPay and PayPal, and a look at the future of fintech in China and Singapore. We’ll also learn which company triumphed in the Startup Pitch Competition and which lucky individual has earned a chance to claim a seat on a Space For Humanity mission to the stars.