- The biggest news coming out of a Paris Fintech Summit is that ‘the crypto fever is now over’
- Investors and fintech enthusiasts gathered at the summit to discuss blockchain technology
- Even traditional finance and the startup world are discussing the state of crypto
The crypto fever has truly broken – this is the biggest news in the biggest annual Fintech gathering in Europe, which is the Paris Fintech Forum. Last Tuesday and Wednesday, 3,000 entrepreneurs, investors, regulators, and bankers descended on Paris.
With the top 10 crypto assets down to 80% in the past 12 months and skepticism mounting, a lot of fintech professionals think that the technology may not be prepared for prime time. This is especially true in an industry this heavily regulated.
The conference focused on getting back to banking basics. Many investors talked about how this year could be a banner dealmaking year. Moreover, the contentious moment came during a panel regarding old-fashioned lending.
At the backstage, luminaries coming from traditional finance and the startup world are also having discussions. All the way from Davos is the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde. She had a chat with Kathryn Petralia who is a co-founder of Kabbage Inc., which is an Atlanta-based firm.
On the other hand, the governor of the Bank of France, Francois Villeroy de Galhau was on stage. The governor held forth about the artificial intelligence with Olivier Guersent who is the director-general of financial stability at the European Commission.
Ann Cairns, the vice chairman of Mastercard Inc., was quoted saying,
“I’m pretty excited about supply chains.”
Considering that Europe’s new payments law now requires banks to share their customer account data with fintech firms, it leaves an impression that there’s plenty of action without messing around with crypto.
This point was also discussed during the face-off between Brad Garlinghouse who is the CEO of San Francisco’s Ripple Labs Inc. and Gottfried Leibbrandt, the chief executive officer of Swift. Swift has been in the industry for 46 years as a cooperative that directs huge amount of dollars between thousands of banks.
Garlinghouse has even vowed repeatedly to leapfrog Swift’s 1970s-conceived system with a cheaper and faster blockchain-like one.
In a statement, Garlinghouse said:
“I look at the dynamic between Ripple and Swift, and I liken it to Amazon and Wal-Mart.”
According to Leibbrandt, Swift’s latest payment standard revitalized its system in the past 2 years. They help customers track payments and cutting transfer time to just hours:
“Banks are not ready for a model where you convert into a crypto and then convert back again. It’s not clear to us that blockchain is better than what we have today.”
CEO and co-founder of mortgage lender LendInvest Ltd., Christian Faes, said that his firm is originating around $39 million per month in loans to residential landlords after moving into the market in 2017. While he wants to expand into mainstream mortgages, it’s harder to attract backers right now. To quote Faes, he said:
“Brexit is not ideal. The market for institutional money has been shut down until Brexit is sorted out.”
While investors are scrutinizing the British economy, Benedetta Arese Lucini, the founder and CEO of Oval Money Ltd., said in a statement that she will be attending more conferences. Lucini also said that she is done with spending her time taking part in pitch contests:
“Last year we could screw up, make mistakes, but you can’t do that anymore. Our adolescence is over.”