Money 20/20: What We’ve Learned about the Current Financial Trends
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Money 20/20: What We’ve Learned about the Current Financial Trends

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Attending Money 20/20 provided us with deep insights into the latest financial trends and innovations shaping the industry. 

The event was a melting pot of ideas and discussions, bringing together industry leaders, innovators, and experts to share their experiences and visions for the future of finance.

From wealthtech innovations to AI solutions, the discussions were rich with actionable takeaways.

Wealthtech: Driving Innovation in the Financial Sector

At the event, wealthtech was a significant topic that encompassed various discussions around emerging banking technology. From the importance of modernizing core systems to enhancing customer experience through the development of super apps and digital wallets, several interesting discussions are worth mentioning.

Super Apps - A Brand-New Concept for A Better Customer Experience

The super app concept has set a trend among Western service providers to broaden their offerings. At Money 20/20, experts highlighted that Western super apps often try to emulate Asian models such as WeChat, Gojek, Grab, or Careem, but this approach doesn't always align with the local market realities. 

These apps aim to integrate numerous services into a single platform, creating an all-in-one user experience. However, this ambition can sometimes overshadow more suitable opportunities tailored to specific market needs.

Super apps excel in regions where trust in individual services is low, consolidating multiple reliable services into one platform to build user confidence. 

At Money 20/20, it was highlighted that Generation Z will likely engage more with investing if it’s easily accessible within their existing money management apps. Convenience and integration are key for this demographic. 

Additionally, partnerships are crucial for growth, allowing super apps to expand their offerings and improve reliability through collaboration with established financial institutions and tech companies.

The Counter Argument to Super Apps

Though super apps have seen the highlights in multiple presentations at Money 20/20, some specialists suggested that instead of solely focusing on creating super apps, companies should consider the unique characteristics and demands of their target markets. 

This approach allows for more effective and relevant service offerings, ultimately leading to better user satisfaction and business success. 

The discussions at Money 20/20 emphasized the importance of strategic adaptation over a one-size-fits-all mentality, urging companies to look beyond the super app hype and innovate in ways that truly resonate with their audience.

Importance of Core Systems Modernization to Drive Innovation 

Legacy banking systems are major barriers to innovation and efficiency. Banks need to break down monolithic applications into modular microservices and re-architect their core systems. 

This simplification and modernization of the technology stack are essential for building future-proof services.

To truly reinvent their business models, banks must: 

  • Digitize operations from front to back – this approach enhances customer experience, improves operational efficiency, and helps them meet the evolving needs of customers, employees, and stakeholders through technology innovation.
  • Collaborate with leading technology providers – working with hyperscalers, digital banking platforms, and global fintechs is key to drive digital transformation.
  • Have a flexible banking technology ecosystem to adapt to rapid changes and ensure innovation.
  • Understand the growing demand for software and automation to manage different assets effectively.
  • Introduce modern banking capabilities that can offer a competitive edge when attracting SME clients.

Existing banks and fintechs often fail to meet evolving needs, lacking customer focus and innovation in treasury management offerings. The opportunity lies in creating user-friendly solutions and simplifying complex practices to better serve the market.

Digital Wallets Are Emerging in the EU

While 50% of global e-commerce transactions use digital wallets, the EU lags with only 30-35% adoption, presenting a significant growth opportunity. Account-to-Account (A2A) payments are gaining importance, offering a direct and efficient alternative to traditional methods.

The session at Money 20/20 highlighted that some friction in payment processes can be beneficial. Consumers value control over their transactions, which enhances security and reduces fraud. Mastercard's $7 billion investment in fraud prevention last year underscores the ongoing efforts to secure payment systems. By 2025, global investments in fraud prevention are expected to reach $10 trillion, emphasizing the critical importance of combating fraud in the payments industry.

Payments

While we understand that payments can be categorized under the embedded finance umbrella, we think that in this article they deserve their own category.

As they are being integrated into different financial and non-financial sectors, payments are playing a pivotal role in delivering hyper-personalized experiences for customers. 

More and more customers are demanding seamless, integrated, instant, secure, and cheap payment solutions for their day-to-day financial activities. 

A good example of the effects of payments innovations and the emergence of embedded finance is represented by the e-commerce sector. The past three years have seen over 200 million new creators and sellers enter the digital marketplace, driven by reduced barriers to entry. This surge includes a diverse range of participants, from gig economy workers to circular economy innovators. 

Technologies like ML/AI, and APIs have made the payments experience personalized and convenient for the daily user, and continue to revolutionize the digital commerce sector. 

Payments can be challenging for airlines in terms of cost and customer experience. 

Based on a study made by CellPoint, respondents have pointed out that the payment process is too complex, they were unable to transact in their desired currency, and they didn’t have enough payment methods to adequately serve all markets. 

An upgrade to the payment architecture in the airlines industry can help mitigate the current challenges.

Now moving forward from the skylines to a more grounded subject: Pay By Bank (PBB).  

Pay by Bank (PBB) Gaining Momentum

For the context, Pay by Bank (PBB) is a payment method that allows consumers to make direct payments from their bank accounts.

In 2024, Pay by Bank (PBB) is expected to grow as major U.S. retailers adopt it to reduce transaction fees associated with traditional card payments. 

Retailers are leveraging real-time payment (RTP) rails for high-value and subscription transactions, aided by the Dodd-Frank Act section 1033

While PBB offers cost savings and keeps banks competitive, it faces challenges such as consumer unfamiliarity and the need for robust fraud protections. 

To succeed, PBB must provide consistent user experience, strong consumer protections, and incentives for repeat use. Learning from card payment systems and collaborating with payment service providers (PSPs) and open banking providers will be crucial to making PBB a mainstream payment method.

A Use Case for Dynamic Currency Conversion: Customer Convenience with DCC

At Money 20/20, a standout example of customer convenience with Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) was highlighted through Aer Lingus. DCC technology allows customers to book flights and make payments in their preferred currency, offering real-time cost clarity and eliminating exchange rate uncertainties.

The partnership between AIB Merchant Services and Fexco showcases how strategic collaborations can enhance the customer experience. By integrating DCC technology, they simplify currency conversions for travelers, demonstrating the practical benefits of such partnerships.

DCC provides travelers with immediate and transparent conversion rates at the point of sale, helping them make informed purchasing decisions and manage expenses efficiently. This real-time financial transparency reduces travel-related financial stress and enhances overall customer satisfaction.

The Evolution of Payments

Another important aspect of the payments area is that while major payment innovations have focused on the B2C sector, the B2B space remains ripe for growth, especially in cross-border payments and digital assets. Experts emphasized that fintechs capable of integrating with big tech companies have the biggest opportunity for driving change in B2B payments. 

Over the past decade, consumer payments have transformed from cumbersome online processes to quick, contactless transactions. Although this disruption hasn't fully reached B2B yet, the conference highlighted that improvements in payment availability, efficiency, and timeliness are set to significantly impact this market soon.

Now moving on to the other aspects of embedded finance, we found some interesting ideas that can be very helpful to organizations who are embracing new financial technologies.

Embedded Finance

The emergent sector of embedded finance received a lot of positive attention during the event. There were many instances in which embedded finance solutions were showcased as a natural next step for the financial industry. Either in the form of payments or other forms like Buy Now Pay Later, financial institutions and non-financial organizations alike are focusing on leveraging embedded finance to improve their revenue and operational efficiency. 

BNPL is Transforming B2B Payments

BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) is revolutionizing B2B payments, shifting them from a basic transactional necessity to a strategic value driver. During one of the presentations, the speaker compared this innovation as being akin to the Fosbury Flop in high jump, presenting a new approach that enhances flexibility and cash flow for businesses, enabling better financial management and investment in growth opportunities.

BNPL serves as an alternative to traditional credit lines, providing easier access to credit for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that often face challenges with conventional financing. This accessibility helps SMEs manage their finances more effectively and supports their growth.

B2B platforms offering BNPL can differentiate themselves from competitors by providing more flexible payment solutions. This flexibility attracts a broader customer base and increases market share, making BNPL a key strategic tool for B2B businesses aiming to stand out in the market.

Risk Management in Embedded Finance

Another key discussion point was the diversification of payment methods and the associated rise in fraud risks within embedded finance. With digital wallets, open banking protocols, rewards points, loyalty points, and prepaid cards, the fraud landscape has become more complex, requiring protection of multiple consumer behaviors and numerous API endpoints.

While Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) offers increased protection against card fraud, Authorized Push Payment (APP) fraud is on the rise. This includes high-volume, low-value scams such as purchase scams and impersonation scams, highlighting the evolving nature of fraud tactics.

The conference emphasized that behavioral identification—understanding customer behavior patterns across payment journeys—is now the gold standard for distinguishing between trusted and risky digital transactions. This approach is essential for effective risk management in the diverse and rapidly changing landscape of embedded finance.

Ultimately, breakthrough technologies like Embedded Finance come with their own set of risks that must be assessed before getting started. However, a team of experts can forecast or overcome these challenges by having as set of contingencies in place.

Open Banking  

At Money 20/20, the differing regulatory landscapes of the UK and the US were highlighted as important factors affecting the adoption speed, consumer protection, and business models in the financial services industry. 

As Open Banking regulations evolve, financial institutions must adhere to new rules to remain compliant and capitalize on opportunities. 

Open Finance for Financial Inclusion

Financial exclusion is a reality for 1.7 billion people, affecting women and developing countries the hardest. Even in Europe, 8% of people lack basic banking services, and 17% can’t access credit, which deepens inequality and poverty.

ML/AI solutions and Open Banking offer hope. They automate decisions and bring new services to life. In Africa and Europe, AI-powered software could lift millions out of poverty, fueling growth and wealth.

But as AI takes on a bigger role, we must use it ethically. We need fairness, transparency, and reliability to prevent bias. This way, we can ensure financial inclusion and create benefits for everyone.

What We’ve Learnt So Far From Open Banking

One major insight from Money 20/20 - 2024 is that providing robust technical infrastructure at the market or country level significantly equips banks and Third-Party Providers (TPPs) for success. 

In some countries, regulators define 'what' the market must achieve but leave the 'how' to the market itself. This has led to banking associations and similar entities stepping into the ecosystem controller role, a marked shift from earlier views of Open Banking as a regulatory burden. Though still in its early stages, the value versus cost of Open Banking is becoming clearer, and incentives are emerging.

The Concept of Open “Everything” 

The new concept of Open 'Everything' is on the horizon, set to impact all business models across every sector. Businesses should start strategizing, experimenting with challenges and sandboxes, and considering potential cultural changes. 

However, it is wise not to overly invest in smart data use cases just yet, as profitability might still be some time away.

Despite the future uncertainties, companies don't need to wait for regulatory changes to seize opportunities. They can create their own ecosystems now to stay ahead of the curve.

Early signs show that data providers who have developed a strong API estate, going beyond mere compliance, attract partners and create opportunities. To get started, businesses should identify one data set that could enhance their product or service and find ways to integrate it effectively.

Open Banking Challenges

Despite Open Banking's potential to enhance financial inclusion and innovation, challenges such as interoperability issues, regional regulatory differences, and the need for ongoing technological adaptation persist. Industry leaders must address these obstacles to fully realize the benefits of Open Banking globally.

Significant challenges remain in B2B Open Banking, including authorization issues, transaction limits, and payment flows. 

Many products are not yet fit for purpose, and businesses often lack awareness of available Open Banking products and services. Financial service providers also struggle to see the benefits of offering these solutions due to regulatory limitations, such as the absence of unified API standards and B2B-specific regulations.

The narrative around Open Banking is generally positive, driven by those with incentives to see it succeed. 

Positive traction has been noted in areas like direct debit sign-up and fraud reduction for businesses, indicating the formation of a B2B Open Banking ecosystem. However, improvements are needed in regulatory changes, and incentives for companies to both adopt and design Open Banking solutions.

Emerging Markets – A Potential Reliable Source of Income for Financial Services Providers

Emerging markets offer a fresh and profitable opportunity for open finance, bypassing the growing pains of changing fee structures. These markets are driven by demand and are open to establishing new customer experiences.

Open finance in these regions will equip SMEs with sophisticated and comprehensive tools, driving substantial wealth growth and circulation. Moreover, emerging markets provide valuable insights into implementing new Point of Sale (PoS) solutions, helping financial services providers understand and adapt to new technologies and customer needs. 

Risk Management

Managing risk in the financial sector is no small feat. As fraud and cyber threats become more sophisticated, and regulations continually evolve, financial institutions face mounting challenges. 

Nowadays, more than ever, it is important to build trust with your customers. Trust can be achieved by simplifying interactions, enhancing authentication processes, and staying ahead of emerging threats like deepfakes. Here’s a closer look at how the industry is addressing these issues.

Restoring Trust and External Communication

Restoring trust in financial services begins with simplicity. Brands must simplify their offerings and communications to build trust with consumers. Clear and straightforward interactions address control and confidentiality concerns more effectively. Authenticity and honesty in messaging are essential, as they resonate with consumers and help rebuild and maintain trust over time.

Authentication Transformation

Effective authentication should adapt to different risk levels, use cases, and channels without adding unnecessary friction for customers. Intelligently adapting access controls helps balance customer experience and security.

Nationwide has been transforming its authentication methods over the past 18 months. They tackled issues like reliance on card readers and passwords and aimed to standardize multi-channel experiences. 

The key was finding a secure credential not attached to a device, ensuring secure app enrollment and confident customer authentication, particularly for high-risk transactions like large payments to new payees.

Protecting Your Organization Against Deepfakes

The rise of artificial intelligence, especially deep learning, has made deepfakes more prevalent and sophisticated. To combat this, technology and innovative strategies are crucial. Biometrics can enhance authentication processes, enabling seamless transactions without compromising security.

Combating deepfakes requires collaboration. Regulators, technology experts, industry stakeholders, and the public all have roles to play in creating robust defenses against this growing threat.

Money 20/20: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence 

AI was once more a main point of interest for most of the participants at Money 20/20, there were lots of information about how to use this technology to improve your organization. Artificial intelligence is here to stay, and our job is to find as many ways as possible to further leverage this new technology and revolutionize the financial sector. 

Here are some of the most interesting use cases for AI that we found at Money 20/20:

1. Using AI to Improve Fraud Detection - by incorporating AI for tasks like fake ID detection, transaction investigation, and customer onboarding, businesses can significantly reduce fraud losses and improve customer trust.

2. Large Banks are Experimenting with Generative AI - Chatbots are a great example of how banks and fintechs can work together, also they are great when it comes to automating some parts of the customer experience .

3. Deploying and Scaling AI Across the Enterprise - Deploying and scaling AI across the enterprise requires careful planning to manage security, compliance, and trust, while making the technology user-friendly and maintaining brand authenticity to gain a competitive edge. AI can be successfully employed in important aspects of the organization such as managing security, and compliance risk, or even underwriting.

4. Deutsche Bank and ING Focused on Building Resilience into Their Models - Deutsche Bank and ING emphasized the importance of resilience in technology, distinguishing between machine learning and GenAI, with both advocating for immediate action and a top-down approach to implement GenAI in KYC and fraud workflows to stay competitive as the US and Asia advance rapidly.

5. AI for Transaction Monitoring – for this to work, the AI model should be built responsibly, transparently, and compliant. It can be a great tool if the solution is client-centric.

Gen AI Is in Its Early Stages

Another valuable point from Money 20/20 2024 is that banking executives see a significant opportunity in Generative AI (GenAI), though adoption is still in its early stages. With 78% of the surveyed leaders planning to increase their investments in GenAI over the coming year, the industry is gearing up for transformation.

To successfully implement GenAI, treat it as a central component of your organization’s strategy, elevating it to the CEO level for top-down prioritization.

Financial institutions that prioritize AI at the highest levels eliminate bottlenecks and energize the organization. Adopting a centrally led approach for GenAI ensures better coordination, faster scaling, and reliable impact, even in decentralized data and analytics environments. Additionally, invest in upskilling your workforce by setting up a data and AI academy. 

A robust data architecture is essential for delivering the necessary data for building effective GenAI solutions. Sustainable impact comes from combining advanced technology with skilled human resources.

Next-Gen Customer Experiences with GenAI

Generative AI, particularly through Large Language Models (LLMs), is set to revolutionize commerce by enabling highly personalized, conversational interactions from search to check-out. This transformation offers clear opportunities for merchants, financial institutions, and payment service providers. 

LLMs will integrate seamlessly into both customer-facing and operational aspects of payments, making transactions and part of the customer journey as processes that work in the background rather than standalone processes. 

Effective data management is crucial, as working with high-quality, multi-channel data using LLMs will provide a competitive edge. Success in this domain requires clear strategic goals, careful risk management, and strong ecosystem partnerships.

Promote a Harmonious Relationship Between AI and Employees

AI systems in financial services are becoming increasingly sophisticated, capable of coordinating with multiple agents or systems to perform complex tasks, leading to more efficient and autonomous operations. 

Rather than replacing human workers, AI should be used to scale businesses and enhance human capabilities. It's crucial to teach employees how to use AI efficiently, helping them perform their tasks more effectively and increasing overall productivity. This approach allows businesses to expand operations without reducing their human workforce.

Given the growing mistrust in AI-driven products, it is essential to adopt genuinely ethical AI practices. Safeguarding democratic values and personal freedoms is key to building trust among consumers and stakeholders. 

Ethical AI ensures that advancements benefit society while protecting individual rights, fostering a positive and productive relationship between AI and employees. By integrating AI as a supportive tool, companies can enhance their workforce's potential and drive innovation without compromising human roles.

Moving on, in order to benefit from AI capabilities you should build a cloud and data architecture that allows you to use the full capabilities of artificial intelligence. AI cannot function without a set of data to ingest and analyze. Let’s see what we cherry-picked from this year’s Money 20/20 about cloud and data.

Cloud and Data: The Core of Innovation

Before starting to build and implement different data solutions, you should understand the true value of data.

You could be sitting on a goldmine without even realizing it. By using data effectively, you can predict customer behavior and create personalized solutions that truly resonate with your audience. 

This can help you attract new clients and uncover profitable market niches. 

To unlock these opportunities, it's essential to build a strong cloud and data architecture. 

All of the above are principles that we’re being discussed among the participants to Money 20/20. Based on several topics from the conference, let’s see how exactly you can use Cloud and Data to better your organization.

Using Data to Better Communicate with your Customers

Effectively using client data can transform your client acquisition and retention strategies and help you identify profitable niches. Even in challenging times, like during the conflict in Ukraine, PrivatBank has demonstrated that AI-driven personalized banking services can be resilient and adaptable. This highlights the power of modern financial technology.

The shift to cloud-native infrastructure has been a game-changer, allowing for the scaling of AI-driven personalization while maintaining top-notch security and compliance standards. 

Access to the latest information empowers your customers to make better decisions, and AI makes this more possible than ever.

As the industry moves towards seamless and hyper-personalized user experiences, the need to leverage data and make it accessible and understandable is greater than ever.

AI in Multicloud Environments

There were multiple touchpoints during the conference between AI and Cloud. It is now common sense that AI cannot function without a cloud architecture to support its functions. 

However, during a conference they presented the reverse use case, more specifically – the fact that AI can be integrated into multicloud environments to automate tasks like resource allocation, security enhancement, and performance maintenance, reducing complexity and monitoring demands. This enables banks to deliver innovative solutions without the burden of complex multicloud management. 

Security and Compliance

The financial industry is probably the fastest evolving in terms of regulations, and it is common sense why. There are several groundbreaking technologies like AI or fields such as Open Banking that require managing sensitive data about businesses and individuals. Having regulations in place to protect the banking client's data and to ensure they can equally access banking services is a must if we want to decrease poverty and ensure the wellbeing of everyone.

EU AI Act Takeaways

The EU AI Act is a significant development with its 113 articles, involving everyone in the supply chain. This comprehensive scope has broad implications. The act defines AI and specifically addresses how it affects human lives, which is crucial for understanding its impact. It also focuses on risk management throughout the entire AI lifecycle, particularly in enhancing productivity for financial services, especially for middle and back-office employees.

Financial Crimes and Compliance Innovations

Financial crimes are serious and have real victims. Compliance isn't just about ticking boxes; it's about protecting our economic and social systems. Criminals are constantly innovating, so we need to think about risk when launching new products to prevent misuse. We can't lower our compliance standards; instead, we need better compliance technology to address these challenges.

Malta Removed from the Grey List

Malta's removal from the grey list is a testament to its strong regulatory and supervisory system. The Maltese regulator is open for business, especially in the payments and fintech sectors, which is a positive sign for the industry.

The EU Digital Finance Platform

The European Commission's EU Digital Finance Platform, launched two years ago, is a collaborative space for national supervisory authorities and fintechs to work together. The new EU Data Hub, part of this platform, will help fintechs access supervisory data for testing new applications and training AI/ML models using synthetic data. This is a big step towards closing the data access gap between financial companies and regulators.

Regulation in Europe: Strong Push for a Standardized Infrastructure

A unified European payment system needs clear regulations and strong partnerships with the private sector. Although there's some fragmentation, there's a strong push for a standardized backend infrastructure. 

Regulators can't do it alone; they need to collaborate with private companies to ensure financial stability and avoid creating isolated products.

Unified payments are all about enhancing security, fostering innovation, and increasing competition. This benefits both consumers and businesses. Instant payments are a key part of this vision, but there are still inefficiencies that need to be addressed. Central banks are not trying to compete with private banks but to complement them with Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), focusing on payments rather than replacing traditional banking roles.

CBDCs and CBDC Infrastructure

Just for a little bit of context, for anyone who haven’t delved into this topic until now, Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) are digital forms of national currency issued by central banks, they will be an important milestone for ensuring secure, efficient, and inclusive financial transactions.

Designing CBDCs

Designing Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) requires thoughtful considerations to support other private forms of money. When creating retail CBDCs, designers must think like product managers, here are a few traits that they need to have in mind: 

  • The success of physical cash doesn’t guarantee that digital currency will automatically be adopted.
  • For wholesale CBDCs, it's important that businesses from various fields adopt them.
  • It is very important to make sure that different systems work together smoothly and securely.

Unlocking Global CBDC Adoption

Global integration of CBDCs is underway, with collaboration between Swift and over 30 central and commercial banks. This initiative sets a precedent for integrating CBDCs into the global payments system, showcasing both challenges and opportunities. 

Swift’s case study serves as a blueprint for overcoming interoperability and trust issues, offering valuable insights for other institutions looking to adopt digital currencies.

CBDCs and stablecoins can complement each other in the financial ecosystem. While they may seem like competitors, each has unique use cases that can lead to a diversified and adaptable monetary system.

Integrating CBDCs in Traditional Finance

Integrating CBDCs into traditional finance requires adapting business models, aligning with new regulations, and ensuring seamless interoperability with existing financial systems. 

CBDCs can enhance customer experiences by offering faster, more secure, and user-friendly financial services, driving greater financial inclusion and satisfaction. 

Successful integration demands robust compliance to prevent financial crimes and maintain operational efficiency for increased transaction volumes.

Are CBDCs Solving any Real Problems?

The success of CBDCs hinges on public trust, which is currently challenged by skepticism and conspiracy theories in Europe and the US. 

Ensuring robust privacy measures is essential for gaining acceptance amid declining trust in institutions and rising geopolitical and economic uncertainties. Overcoming these trust and privacy challenges is key for CBDCs to become a viable currency, as discussed by our panel of experts.

Future of Money: CBDCs or Stablecoins?

The potential for CBDCs and privately-issued stablecoins to coexist is strong, rather than competing in a winner-takes-all scenario. 

CBDCs offer stability and regulatory oversight, while stablecoins provide innovation and flexibility. This coexistence can drive a robust digital financial ecosystem, fostering collaboration between public and private entities.

Programmable money, enabled by CBDCs and stablecoins, represents a significant shift. It can enhance cross-border payments, reduce transaction costs, and enable new financial products and services, leading to greater financial inclusion and more transparent monetary policies. 

The evolving roles of governments and the private sector highlight the importance of clear regulatory frameworks and cooperation to harness the benefits of digital currencies while mitigating risks.

The Digital Euro: Key Takeaways

The Digital Euro is not designed to replace all forms of payment. There will be limits to prevent this. It aims to promote financial inclusion and protect economic sovereignty without monitoring individual payments or launching programmable money. 

The Digital Euro will provide opportunities for private sector innovation, and while it is not inevitable, there is a strong likelihood that it will be introduced.

Web 3.0 - The New Internet 

Web 3 is not just a tech upgrade; it's a revolution. This new internet era involves creating solutions on the blockchain while balancing decentralization, openness, and ownership. Web 3 is set to transform financial services by replacing old financial systems and introducing new forms of money and asset representations. 

Blockchain Maturing with Key Partnerships

Blockchain is no longer just a buzzword. Companies like Ripple and Kraken are proving its real-world value. Ripple is now offering stablecoins and custodial services and has partnered with HSBC to tokenize securities. This evolution shows how blockchain is becoming a vital part of modern financial systems. 

It enables faster, cheaper, and more secure transactions, supporting instant cross-border payments, and bringing automation into play. Kraken is stepping up with services like token trading and custodial wallets, meeting the growing needs of consumers and institutions alike.

Building a solid blockchain infrastructure and ensuring different systems work together is very important for the future of internet. Middleware solutions help connect various blockchain layers, making data verification and asset redemption seamless. By integrating digital assets into traditional banking with tools like Ripple's API, we can achieve real-time global payments that are efficient and scalable.

The MiCA (Markets in Crypto-Assets) Regulations

The introduction of MiCA regulations is a game-changer for the crypto market in Europe. It offers a clearer framework, enabling centralized exchanges to expand and innovate while staying compliant with new standards. 

Ensuring customer safety and improving the crypto market's reputation are top priorities. Exchanges are implementing robust security measures, transparent operations, and educational initiatives to build trust and foster a safer trading environment.

As some exchanges like Binance scale back in certain regions, others have a golden opportunity to step in.

In-House Innovation: The Answer to the Banking and Fintech Cycle Challenge

The ideas discussed above might have already increased your innovation appetite. 

This is normal, and is exactly what so many bank employees, especially those on product and technology teams, feel too. This is what one of the sessions at Money 20/20 covered, the classic story of bank employees who leave to start a fintech due to slow-moving innovation cycles internally, and then eventually, if they are sucessful, more often than less end up selling back into a bank. 

Banks are eager to break this cycle and foster innovation internally, and there is a lot of excitement around this topic.

Though leaving excitement aside, there are still challenges that might stand in the way of disruption, especially when we are talking about the large and well-established financial corporations.

One of the biggest challenges to innovation in the financial industry is executing ideas and turning them into solutions that improve the quality of life for the entire organization.

This represents a challenge because it requires a high degree of entrepreneurial skill for a large bank to support innovation. Often, innovative initiatives are postponed due to large institutions' bureaucracy and lack of flexibility.

Top employees with innovative ideas often leave large banks to build or join fintechs, which are later acquired by these financial institutions. Succeeding with financial innovation demands entrepreneurial talent and a willingness to take risks, as success is not guaranteed in a blue ocean environment. However, waiting at the finish line to acquire successful fintechs can also be a valid strategy, especially since most fintech solutions can be customized to the organization’s needs post-acquisition.

There’s no need to create fintechs from the ground up to be seen as a disruptive financial organization. Proven solutions, such as open banking, AI, and cloud enterprise solutions, can be developed in-house to improve revenue and operational efficiency. These solutions are enough to maintain competitiveness while preparing for the future.

To ensure smooth implementation of these new technologies and to develop tailored in-house solutions, consider partnering with a custom software development firm.

An experienced technology partner can be as valuable, if not more so, than the talent that leaves to pursue fintech initiatives. A tech partner can support most of your initiatives without disrupting your internal processes. We wrote a guide on our blog where you can read more about choosing in-house implementation over subscription-based services.

Ready to implement the innovations discussed at Money 20/20? If you’re looking for an experienced team as excited as you are about implementing groundbreaking technologies, look no further. With over 10 years of experience and collaborations with financial giants such as American Express, BNP Paribas, Santander, Raiffeisen Bank and PayU, we are here to help. Book a call with our team of experts to explore how we can help you bring these cutting-edge solutions to your business or read our article about building in-house vs. SaaS subscription.

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