Contxto – Full disclosure: I love The Economist. When I need crisp and intelligent analysis on what’s going on in the world, I rarely turn elsewhere (other than Contxto, of course). It is truly essential reading.
But, all gushing aside, Contxto’s tech radar started going berserk when it detected that our world and that of this eminent newspaper was on a course for collision.
It turns out that on February 25, 2020, for one day only, The Economist Events will be hosting Finance Disrupted LATAM. And you, dear readers, are invited.
We at Contxto have a vested interest both in seeing Latin America succeed and in getting those who need to be in the room where it happens.
For this reason, we have teamed up with The Economist Events to get you a special discount. Just type in CONTXTO20 and get 20 percent off on your ticket to Finance Disrupted LATAM through this link.
I suppose it was only a matter of time. An event like this highlights a couple of essential features about the ongoing finance revolution. Firstly, that it is a truly global phenomenon that must be understood on a transcontinental level. But, secondly, that this revolution will have some key distinctive regional features—each with their own challenges and opportunities—that one cannot just brush over.
Finance Disrupted LATAM is the meeting point of these features. For few other institutions like The Economist can combine a hyper-local level of analysis within a comprehensively global perspective.
Therefore, at this event you will be at the epicenter of the drive for inclusive growth in Latin America. Together with other financial industry leaders, investors, entrepreneurs, and policymakers, you will be crafting a roadmap to the future disruption of old (and new) business models in finance, banking, fintech, and beyond.
A few of you will now be thinking that this optimistic talk of a tech-driven regional revolution sounds all too familiar. We’ve been hearing it for so long that it has become a bit of a joke: “Latin America is and always will be the land of the future.”
And yet, at Finance Disrupted LATAM we hope to bring you over to the light. True, there will be winners as well as losers, as in any great upheaval. But, believe it or not, Latin America is in a special position at this historic juncture.
One of the globally relevant, but regionally specific features that will be explored at this event will revolve around how Latin America’s position in the global fintech ecosystem affects its future chances.
In Latin America, where according to the World Bank, only 51 percent of adults have a bank account, the impact of this disruption can be revolutionary. The opportunity to give millions of people and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) better access to short and long-term financing to close a huge economic gap while giving business leaders the capacity to build smarter companies.
If played correctly, this regional lag could become a golden opportunity.
Just look back at the other industrial revolutions of the past. The top players often don’t stay hegemonic for long in the face of scrappy new contenders. Why? Because of leapfrogging.
This is when a latecomer to the game is able to catch up and overtake the previous leaders, since they are unhindered by previous sunk costs in hardware, organization, and mindset. The region has fallen behind, yes, but, remember just how far behind China was 20 years ago?
So, instead of languishing, this event will ask questions like, what can be learned from fintech waves happening in Silicon Valley, the UK, and China?
Talks, interviews, and workshops will cover these areas of opportunity by exploring the likes of “Fintech for the Masses”, “Blockchain”, and “Rewriting the Rules: Can regulation keep up with the pace of tech innovation?”. The answers to these topics and questions will determine the future course of the region as a whole.
How much this region will be a passive receiver of coming innovations and how much it will be a leader in their revolution will be determined in large part by what happens at this gathering.
Tag-team boxing, challengers and incumbents in the same room
Beyond all this optimism, however, we must come to terms with the fact that future challenges in fintech will not be easy to overcome. We will need the best people in the business and further afield.
It’s a trick ask. It is not every day that you get to see the smiling fresh faces of new and traditional finance in one room.
Fortunately, Finance Disrupted LATAM will have the biggest-wigs of the biggest beasts of the industry, including the regional leaders and general directors of Deloitte, HSBC, and Visa. And yet, the CEOs and founders of Latin America’s shiniest (and most successful) fintech startups will also be there. Think the Chief Executive of Clip, the co-founder of Bitso, the Founder of Ualá, Albo, Fondeadora…
The list goes on with more than 250 policymakers, senior business leaders, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders. It is a veritable who’s who of whoever is shaking things up in the ongoing financial upheaval. (Obviously, we’ll be there as well).
Common knowledge would have you think that these industry incumbents and challengers should be at each other’s throats. Not so, says The Economist. “Collaborate or Die” is the name of the game—and also, it so happens, is one of the day’s events.
The revolution will be digitized
In the end, the future is coming whether we’re ready for it or not. The obstacles ahead in Latin America are daunting but clear: low-trust in government and financial institutions, poor access to credit, prevalent fraud, inequality…
What can new technology do to help us overcome them? How can we hook these solutions up to the broader economy in order to turbo-charge it? Will these new models help societies include those most in need or will they enhance the region’s already dismal record on inequality?
These are the questions thinkers, founders, business people, and government officials are asking the world round. Those who come up with the best solutions will go on to thrive in a difficult twenty-first-century.
Events like Finance Disrupted LATAM are merely a first step, but a very necessary one in the right direction.
You know this ecosystem; think twice and you’ll be too late. Click on that button below and we’ll see you there.
I wouldn’t miss it for a thousand December 2017-valued Bitcoin.