Sarah Friar, the Irish born CFO of Square, was the first guest on the centre stage and had an engaging and insightful conversation with John Fraher of Bloomberg. She discussed the growth of Square and the need for companies to be omnichannel, meeting customers where they are across multiple integrated platforms.
Her discussion on diversity and the need for more women in senior management roles in the tech industry was a standout moment.
Just days after announcing the creation of 60 jobs in Dublin for his company ConsenSys, Joseph Luben, Co-founder of Ethereum was at MoneyConf to discuss blockchain, how it can be viewed as a next generation database and a trustworthy collaboration infrastructure.
He discussed the sharing economy and how while based on giving better value to the end user, these companies are really just resource aggregators and taking the majority of the value.
He proposed that blockchain is the solution to having the right size intermediaries, where value is at the correct level and different actors have an opportunity to share that value and power with no one actor being overly monetised or powerful. The opportunities for blockchain to be used to impact and improve society, in particular for identity in developing countries was also mentioned, another thought-provoking use of this technology.
The panel for the ‘Saying goodbye to passwords and pins’ reviewed the difficulty in finding the balance between user convenience and security in authentication and how as new developments are introduced, methods to identify and attack the vulnerabilities of the latest tech come just as fast.
An interesting moment was the acknowledgement from the panel that despite the massive advantages and progress to be gained by AI and machine learning, that there will always be a need for a human presence in fraud detection. In the current climate where customer experience is becoming the new battleground, there will always be cases where:
"Delivering the best user experience will be a person talking to another person"
Noted Nuno Sebastio, CEO of Feedzai, an AI company that detects fraud in omnichannel commerce. Automating the lower value tasks is a where changes can be made.
The conversation of established banks competing against fintechs is moving now to one of acceptance that there is room for both in the industry and collaboration is the future.
The panel for ‘The next step for banking and fintech’ spoke of innovation within banks, cultural differences and also of customer expectations. Do customers want banks to be innovative or want them to be stable?
Forms of interaction between banks and fintechs varied from banks selling fintech products, creating partnerships and acquiring fintechs.
Mike Laven of CurrencyCloud saw the possibility for banks to be platforms for the distribution of products. In discussion about the war for talent, bank employees keeping their skill sets fresh and retraining rather than acquiring staff were the key points highlighted.