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Jack Dorsey, Vitalik Buterin, Chris Skinner and all things #Money2020

It’s the end of the first full day of Money 20/20 2016, and it’s been a mixed day starting with a surprisingly packed room for my discussion with Moven, Simple and ING about digital banking.

The story of the fish seemed popular (see last week’s blog).

[note: I do not say all banks are dead fish, just the ones with leaders who don’t get tech]

Following that short highlight, it was running madly around between the Exhibit Hall, my room, a lunch meeting and then settling in for the main keynotes of the day from Google, PayPal, Square and AliPay.

I must admit the Google discussion disappointed and I was surprised by how quiet Jack Dorsey was.


[sidenote: many in the audience were intrigued by that tattoo on his arm]

I expected bada-bing bada-boom pyrotechnics from the man who co-founded Twitter and Square, whereas what we got with a guy who kept coming back to talking basics.


Far more interesting, for me anyways, was the news that PayPal has partnered with Facebook to embed payments into Messenger.  PayPal is deepening its relationship with Facebook, and will now become one of the payment options within Messenger.  Mind you, that is not so amazing as Facebook is working with Stripe, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, not just PayPal and PayPal-owned Braintree.  Maybe what is amazing is the idea that the largest social network in the West is becoming a dominant player in the payments world.  Shame Facebook weren’t here to keynote.

PayPal’s EVP and COO Bill Ready then talked about ecosystems, partnering and strategic alliances, one of which is Alibaba, which is interesting as AliPay were on just before Bill, talking about their entry into America and Europe.

Here are the numbers.

PayPal: 192 million active users

AliPay: 450 million active users

PayPal: 5 million transactions a day

AliPay: 180 million transactions a day

Ouch.  Forget GAFA, think FATBAG.

AliPay in fact are processing 85,000 transactions per second and have a clear global expansion plan.  Theirs is also based around partnerships with Ingenico, Wirecard, First Data, Verifone and more in their portfolio to date.  They intend to use these alliances to grow to two billion active users within a decade, and a million merchants outside China will be using their services for online to offline checkout experiences.

Four months into the job of heading up AliPay’s international expansion, Douglas Feagin was pretty bullish on stage about their views of the world.

After those presentations, I then toddled off to hear Don Tapscott interview Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, about the DAO hack and more.


It wasn’t a terribly insightful discussion, but it did at least give Vitalik a chance for a good joke.  Bearing in mind he lives in Canada, when Don asked him if he thought the banks were toast, Vitalik said: “Yes … French Toast!”  That got a laugh.

All in all, I just couldn’t help feeling that we were all buzzing about how technology rules the world, and that the third age industrial revolution financial firms are not taking up the challenges fast enough.  Some are, obviously, but many were being thought of as potentially washed up fish or French toast.  Either way, that’s not very nice.  Maybe that’s why most of the banks attending the show this year were hiding their badges.

Ah well, time to hit the Strip.  More tomorrow.


About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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