How will cryptocurrencies affect different industries and shape the world in the future? What is the role of blockchains’ revolutionary technology in shaping Fintech? These are some of the issues that were addressed at the first event in the “Future of Money” series that swissnex China launched in November 2017, with a great panel of Swiss and Chinese blockchain and fintech experts.
Staying on the Cutting Edge
A rapid increase in digitalization is accelerating fintech and is forcing the finance and banking sector to innovate, especially as a response to the 2008 financial crisis. Fintech is enabling transactions that are smaller, higher-frequency, and more diversified. Switzerland has developed cutting-edge solutions and has much to offer in this field.
New Core Technology
Blockchain (the technology underlying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies) is gaining momentum and grabbing attention as a core technology for executing transactions on networks, as it allows internet users to transfer items of digital property to each other. Blockchain ensures that the transfer is safe and secure. Because the blockchain is transparent, all users know whether the transfer has taken place and it is impossible to fake or imitate the legitimacy of the transfer.
The importance of constructing distributed financial platforms with blockchain technology is growing. However, developments around blockchain in fintech are still at an early stage and progress may unlock many potential solutions. Many academics and experts have already identified the emergence of the trend, and they are currently analyzing the opportunities and challenges that these digital platforms, cutting-edge technologies, and new business models have brought to the financial sector, where Switzerland is traditionally strong.
Testing the Waters
swissnex China has set itself the goal of highlighting the strength of Swiss fintech, which benefits from Switzerland’s leadership in innovation, and with crypto valley Zug on the rise in the blockchain scene has garnered interest around the world, including in China. In fact, in November 2017, swissnex China successfully launched its first “Future of Money” series’ event on “Blockchain in fintech”, with an exceptional panel of Swiss and Chinese blockchain and fintech experts. The topics that were discussed in Shanghai and Hong Kong included the revolutionary technology of blockchain in fintech and the future outlook of how cryptocurrencies and distributed ledgers have the potential to disrupt certain industries and shape the world of tomorrow.
Connecting the Dots
The Swiss expert panelists included Dr. Thomas Bocek, Head of P2P and distributed systems at the University of Zurich and Manuel Stagars, who made the documentary “Blockchain and Us.” Mr. Bocek gave the audience a taste of the technological background to peer-to-peer and distributed systems, including bitcoin and blockchain. Mr. Stagars, building on the knowledge acquired thanks to his documentary and his many interviews with key industry players in Switzerland, shared interesting insights into the Swiss fintech landscape and its opportunities and challenges for blockchain technology. The panel was moderated by the fintech expert Zennon Kapron, Director of Kapron ASIA, a leading provider of financial industry market research and consulting.
In addition to those mentioned above, seven more blockchain experts joined the panel: Da HongFei, Founder of NEO, the largest blockchain project in China, explained how digital identity can digitalize assets to automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts aiming to create a “smart economy.” From Hong Kong, we welcomed Arthur Hayes, CEO of BitMEX, a P2P crypto-products trading platform, who presented the next generation of bitcoin derivatives. We were also joined by Ms. Qijun Wang, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of crypto asset management start-up Queschain, providing a much-needed voice for women in the industry. Finally, we welcomed Mr. Rong Chen, co-founder of Elastos Foundation, who works on a smart-web powered by blockchain, and Mr. Jason Inch who discussed his most recent book “China 4.0” and his latest blockchain project, Genaro, with us.
Many interesting issues were discussed during the two events: is blockchain technology a game changer? Which industries will blockchain influence in particular? Is Switzerland going to play a key role in this fintech industry? How long does it take for mass adoption? What are the opportunities and threats of blockchain technology? The conclusion was that blockchain technology is only the beginning of a revolution which will have the power to change our everyday lives.
Success story: China’s start-up and blockchain giant NEO, which was a main event partner, is currently exploring ways to set up an entity in Switzerland as a result of this event. Meanwhile, NEO has invested several million dollars in two Swiss start-ups, PikcioChain and Valid. This is a clear example of how swissnex China tangibly contributes to the creation of value both in Switzerland and abroad.
Focus on Swiss Quality and Chinese Speed
Rapid advances in digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and cryptography are transforming the financial services landscape, which in turn creates opportunities and challenges. Despite this ever-changing environment, swissnex China continues to keep abreast of the latest industry developments, while preparing for the next major event, which will focus on “AI in WealthTech”.