Money20/20 2022: Where Regulation Ruled the Conversation

October 28, 2022

What an incredible week! Team Fortress is still buzzing with energy from the breadth of conversations (and the depth of connections) that we were able to have at what felt like the biggest show yet. A sincere thank you to every partner, customer, prospect, and peer who spent time digging into the solutions that Web3 unlocks. Whether it was over cocktails and snacks at our CHICA and Marquee events on Monday (thanks to Crypto.com for being fabulous co-hosts), over much needed coffee on Tuesday, or a meeting at our Vegas office on Wednesday, you’re the inspiration and excitement for what’s ahead. 

We know there are plenty of recaps landing in your inbox this week, so we promise to keep it brief: the most important trends and take-aways from a show that proved its relevance in a shifting landscape.

Gimmicks need not apply

The content team at Money2020 put together an artful agenda — folks who attended the 2021 event may remember how crypto-heavy the stage was, almost as if the mainstream fintech community had just started to see the potential impact of decentralized finance and was in a mad dash to ensure they didn’t miss out.

This year’s agenda responded to the crypto chaos that ensued. There was no space on stage (and low tolerance in conversation) for concepts, use cases, or technologies that have not been proven out for the needs of financial technology. 

This was heartening for the team at Fortress, where we’ve built the technology (whether via APIs or widgets) to help businesses unlock the tangible benefits of Web3 tech — from wallets and payments for traditional and digital assets to the tokenization tools to empower and engage end users. We work in an industry that many are wary of, and are delighted to see the real impacts of Web3 coming to the forefront. 

The second our conversations got beyond the “crypto concerns” and “bored apes”, we saw eyes light up with the possibilities of what the underlying technology can do. We had so much fun helping folks brainstorm and iterate on what they can do with, and can’t wait for more of it. 

Ecosystems and infrastructure matter most

Even when it came to the headline-grabbing speakers — Serena Williams, Takis Georgakopoulos of JP Morgan and Chase, Amrapali Gan of OnlyFans included — the conversations remained focused on how system-wide changes can be a rising tide.

Whether the core topic was digital identity or creator economy the expectation was clear: new business models should be rooted in a long-term vision to create a better, more connective user experience. The conversations seemed to continually narrow down into the ways new technology can change the relationship between businesses and end users, and ultimately give consumers more control of their money, their experiences, and their data. More ownership.

At Fortress, we know this is by definition the opportunity of Web3 at scale. So long as you can deliver on the promise of blockchain, decentralized, immutable technology safely and securely. Which leads directly to the key, most prominent theme at Money2020 this year: 

Regulation is needed — and ready — for Web3 to scale

We wouldn’t be at this point if it weren’t for the tireless work of folks who believe in the nexus of innovation and regulation — many of them who have been behind the blockchain and Web3 scenes for over a decade at this point. Today, the use of Web3 technology is on the table for innovators thanks to work that’s being done to find common ground between consumer protection, digital identity, and the opportunities Web3 presents.

At Fortress, the work to find this common ground and unlock Web3 for new industries is persistently top of mind across our teams. In fact, it’s why we work in lock-step with our wholly-owned subsidiary, Fortress Trust. Fortress Trust is a chartered, regulated financial institution, helmed by Albert Forkner, the former state banking commissioner of Wyoming. 

Albert himself is one of those behind-the-scenes advocates that cleared the path for today’s innovation. He spent the last 20+ years responsible for the supervision and regulation of all state-chartered banks, independent trust companies, licensed non-depository financial entities operating, and building the newly created blockchain/crypto-friendly Special Purpose Depository Institution bank charter. His work to develop a framework for regulating digital assets is similar to initiatives and designed in collaboration with regulators in various countries around the world.

In case you missed it, he joined an incredible panel put together by Socure on digital identity and the state of government protection and regulation in this evolving space. He reminded the crowd that while regulatory change can take time, it’s well worth it to foster the connectivity that new technologies, businesses, and ideas unlock.

It wasn’t just Fortress preaching this approach — in fact the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)used his time on the stage to discuss the new rule being proposed that would give consumers greater rights over their financial data, and foster a “more decentralized and neutral consumer financial market structure”. 

We’re excited to see the past decade of (often unseen, unsung) regulatory efforts to pave the way coming to fruition — and can’t wait to see what comes next.

As for our team at Fortress, we’re here when you’re ready to future-proof your fintech, neobank, traditional bank, or payments org. Reach out to sales to get started today! [email protected]

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