EPA Asia had planned to be in Silicon Valley in April hosting a delegation in collaboration with AmCham visting some of the most innovative companies in Paytech. We were disappointed not having the chance to meet and collaborate with some truly exciting organisations. But the word of the season is ‘pivot’ so that’s what we did.
Together with our friends at AmCham we created a mini series of webinars focusing on how Fintechs, Paytech, Digital Currency to Cash have been impacted by the pandemic. A huge thanks to AmCham, April Palmer Lee and also to all of the panellists participating in the events.
Part one of this webinar series had an Australian focus, where we presented Senator Andrew Bragg who had was due to be part of the delegation to Silicon Valley, in conversation with Ben Heap, Executive Chairman of fintech-focused venture capital fund H2 Ventures.
They discussed how the current pandemic has impacted the industry and what role Fintech has for the industries recover the role of Open Banking and Digital Identity.
In part-two EPAA Ambassador Lance Blockley, moderated a panel of US Based companies, including Melissa Keir, Vice President Global Expansion, Marqeta (Silicon Valley, USA), Peter Cheesman, Principal Payments, DXC Technology (Sydney AU) and Vanessa Grellet, Executive Director, ConsenSys (New York, USA).
They discussed how curtailed international travel and cross-border payments interrupruptions have impacted payment companies. The question was asked if the situation has it been severely detrimental across the board, or have some Fintech players benefited from the disruption? An interesting and most uplifting conversation as all panellists shared positive stories – Marqeta even reporting their best quarter ever!
Part three hosted a discussion between Alex (Sandy) Pentland of MIT Connection Science and Dr Prash P, CEO and Founder, Caleb and Brown covering topics from digital identity to digital currency and CBDCs. The discussion was open ended and returned to digital privacy and who the ultimate owner is of the data. We are delighted that we will see Alex Pentland, who will be collaborating with us on project Digital Identity, and we will revisit the conversation once the white paper is released in March 2021.
Last session focused on Cash and how people have been impacted by the decline in cash usage and what digital payments have enable. This was with a regional involvement from AmCham. We did hear interesting stories about usage of mobile payments to reach people remotely. Also, a discussion how to not leave vulnerable consumer groups behind, homeless, financial abuse, digital exclusion or people with lower education.
We asked the question if the choice of digital payments are is become in to waste and is overwhelming the end consumer the panel agreed that standardisation is needed.
The panel was moderated by Steven Chan, Regional Head of Regulatory and Government Affairs, Asia Pacific, PayPal, Carolyn Breeze, General Manager Australia and New Zealand, GoCardless, Lisa Robbins, Global Head, Transaction Banking, Standard Chartered Bank and Brad Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Wave Money