WiredMoney 2015 Highlights

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Stefan Thomas outlines the Internet of Value. Photo: WiredUK

WiredMoney 2015 was held on July 8 at the British Museum in London, and as audiences have come to expect, the event attracted presenters and speakers from power players and new entrants to the world of finance.

Incumbents like Visa shared the stage with disruptors like Bitcoin, and Ripple Labs presented on the integration of legacy banking with distributed ledger technology.  Newcomers to the industry showed off their proposals in the pitch sessions on the BBVA Ventures Startup Stage.

In this wealth of ideas and chorus of voices, there are a few highlights that stand out:

Ismail Ahmed, CEO and founder of WorldRemit, reasoned that cash is being replaced in much of the developing world by mobile phones; a process that brings historically unbanked people into the global economy for the first time.

Key quote:  “45% of Kenya’s GDP flows through M-Pesa.”

Jonathan Vaux, executive director of innovations partnering at Visa Europe, represented his company as a friendly incumbent willing to partner with new players in financial technology and ready to adapt.

Key quote: “By working together we will succeed together.”

Peter Smith, CEO of Blockchain, presented on the concept of crowdsourced and provable identity that could be verifiable online. He proposed that this idea would be of particular use in countries without state-issued ID as well as in places where verification is costly or time-consuming.

Key quote: “Really at its core, Bitcoin is just an open access database that anyone can write to.”

Stefan Thomas, CTO of Ripple Labs, presented on the Internet of Value; the concept of integrating siloed financial institutions through Ripple’s partnership with banks to create a flat and completely connected payments world.

Key quote: “We believe this point in the future has finally come.”

The common thread that emerged in nearly every presentation was one of partnership; the necessity for new technology and legacy financial institutions to adopt and adapt to one another for the good of consumers all over the world.

Technologies are emerging that change irrevocably the way people all over the world identify themselves, move money, and make payments. As our own Stefan Thomas put it, this technology is not a future possibility; it is a current reality.

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