Paris Fintech Summit Shows Crypto Fever Is over, but Blockchain Still Reigns Supreme
With the top ten coins down 80 percent in the last year and skepticism mounting, the Paris Fintech Summit showed that while the crypto fever might be over, blockchain technology is still going strong, Bloomberg reported on February 3, 2019.
Crypto Fever Has Finally Cooled
The Paris Fintech Forum, one of the biggest annual gatherings of its kind in Europe, took place on January 30 and 31, bringing together more than 3,000 entrepreneurs, investors, bankers, and regulators. And while last year’s Summit centered heavily on cryptocurrencies, this year’s gathering was much less optimistic about the new asset class.
Many experts in the field of fintech, including heads of blockchain-based companies such as Ripple, agreed that cryptocurrencies might not be ready for prime time, especially in such a heavily-regulated industry.
With Europe’s new payments law now requiring banks to share customer account data with fintech firms, the prevailing vibe was that there’s plenty of action without messing around with crypto, Bloomberg reported.
Big Names Debated Burning Industry Issues
As cryptocurrencies were not the focal point of any discussions at the Summit, the conference was mostly about banking and getting back to basic practices in the industry. Luminaries from both traditional finance and fintech startups discussed potential partnerships and industry developments.
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), attended the conference alongside the governor of the Bank of France, Francois Villeroy de Galhau, and Olivier Guersent, the director-general of financial stability at the European Commission. Ann Cairns, the vice chairman of MasterCard, attended the discussion on artificial intelligence and said that she was excited about its application in supply chains.
During a face-off with Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple Labs, Gottfried Leibbrandt, the chief executive officer of Swift, said that it was still unclear that banks were not ready for a model where they converted fiat into crypto and then back into fiat. “It’s not clear to us that blockchain is better than what we have today,” he added.
However, according to Bloomberg, there was a feeling throughout the conference that European fintech is maturing. This was especially true in the online lending space, despite the prospect of Brexit stomping the growth of many U.K.-based companies. Rishi Khosla, the CEO of an online lender called OakNorth, said that his firm had never recorded a default or late payment – virtually unheard of in the lending space.