Digital assets are the new gold. This may be a bold statement, but it wasn’t long ago when proponents of this new race of currencies would’ve been laughed out of the room at conferences like Money20/20. This year, digital assets were brought up at nearly all of this year’s panel discussions, which ironically opened with a presentation by Tracy Davies entitled, ‘Welcome back to Physical’.
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to not only attend the first physical Money20/20 since the start of the pandemic, but also explore this topic as part of two panels alongside industry veterans. With the surge in digital transactions since the first wave of lockdowns early last year, it’s no surprise that the panels I was invited to provide insights on were, “What would it take to let ‘Libras’ happen and learn from their results?” and “How should CBDCs be designed and what function should they perform to become a trusted medium for payments?”.
Stablecoins are making waves
First DAG was one of less than 20 cryptocurrency companies that were invited to speak at Money20/20. As a result, I didn’t expect cryptocurrencies and the blockchain to be as popular among attendees as it turned out to be.
In fact, stablecoins were mentioned at almost every event — mainly in relation to the Treasury’s recommendation for stricter oversight of coins that are tethered to a Fiat currency. Just days before the conference began, The Treasury announced that it was particularly keen to observe and regulate growth tokens attached to tech giants like Facebook’s stablecoin, Diem.
As the days progressed, one thing became clear. Blockchain companies and traditional financial institutions may not see eye-to-eye on many topics, but when it came to stablecoins, large players in the financial sector approached the subject with gusto, making it one of the key trends for the year.
Not just for investors
One use case that was brought up by Payment Service Providers (PSPs) during a number of panel discussions was the use of stablecoins in B2B transactions, facilitating quick and cheap international payments.
Panelists recognised that waiting 24 to 72 hours for a cross-border transaction initiated via a traditional payment system was no longer the most efficient course of action for businesses. Leading PSPs discovered that transactions such as USDC take seconds to process, and cost less than a cup of coffee, making it an industry favourite for international B2B transactions at Money20/20.
Open banking might just seal the deal
Since its inception a few years ago, open banking has played a significant role in promoting the growth of challenger banks. It’s safe to say that open banking can lay the groundwork for businesses to access financial institutions via API, connecting to the USDC network. Eventually, the adoption of stablecoins by industry giants will have a knock-on effect on consumer payments, revolutionising payments.
I left Money20/20 feeling pleased that cryptocurrencies have come a long way over the past decade. I’m already looking forward to seeing a bigger turnout from the digital assets space next year.