Ned Philips, a veteran from E-Trade and is now with 8securities, jokes, “We needed 3 licenses just to operate in Singapore and every time I was asked if I was about to bring the financial system down and branding one of our products Darkpool was sufficient to require two additional licenses”.
One of the panel was dedicated to fintech, so we’re taking this opportunity to wrap it up and share the views of experts on stage such as Simon Cant from Reinventure groupe or Ned Phillips, director of 8securities who previously managed E-Trade for Asia.
Another panelist added that “it’s not like Twitter or Snapchat, you cannot fuck around regulators, fines are in billion dollars directly”.
Fintech in Asia: key points
Out of the dedicated panel we have attended, the key points are:
- Fintech is different than other technology waves because of regulations
- Successful startups will target where banks make a lot of undue money
- Fintech can go faster in emerging markets as regulations are weaker and bank fees (remittance) are stronger
- Generational opportunities in fintech such as Millennials not needing banks and elderly having time and money
- Bitcoin is creepy while blockchain is sexy
The generational opportunity for fintech startups
A great insight came from the analysis of two opposite age groups by panelists.
On one side, Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000s, whose relationship with money and trust is far from the standards of the banking world. They tend to favour experience over ownership and are going to disrupt the workplace and good old salary.
On the other side, elderly are often an educated, tech-savvy, wealthy crowd with time to scout offers, diligent, browse the web for answers.
Bitcoin and the blockchain are the future of fintech in Asia
Of course, no fintech panel cannot be comprehensive without at least one question on bitcoins, although these days, it’s not so much on the value than on the underlying technology infrastructure.
Banks have an allergic reaction to it, and the bad vibes around bitcoin, such as the dark web portals, don’t help them to understand it better.
“Bitcoin is intellectually challenging, it has no legitimacy in the banking world, and adoption is really tough”, says a panelist.
Solutions can come from emerging markets, where the banking infrastructure adds to the “price of poverty” as we had seen with several bitcoin startups from the Philippines.
It’s exciting to be in Asia as well where remittances are so high and innovation is a necessity to kill costs and release the value of people’s work.
Find out more about alternative currencies and fintech here:
- Bitcoins explained at Afrikoin, Nairobi
- How will technology and Bitcoins disrupt the remittance market? Discussion with African startups at Afrikoin
- Bitcoin Argentina, exploring alternatives to a broken monetary system