Money2020, an annual financial innovation summit held in Las Vegas, is adding a bitcoin track to its agenda this year.
The organizers of the conference want Bitcoin World to bring the mainstream financial industry up to speed with cryptocurrencies. Anil D Aggarwal, co-founder of Money2020, told CoinDesk:
“We’re going to get 5,000 to 6,000 people. Over 500 CEOs, people from 2,000 companies and 50 countries. We have become the largest event globally for innovations in money.”
Aggarwal explained that Money2020 is all about financial technologies, so it seemed a natural step for the conference to start offering a cryptocurrency component.
“We are creating Bitcoin World at Money2020 because we’re big believers in cryptocurrencies. We believe in the notion of a decentralized ledger.”
Getting banks on board
The organizers believe Money2020 could provide an excellent networking opportunity for bitcoin-related businesses as well as financial companies.
For the most part, bitcoin companies already know one another other well, due to the industry’s nascent nature. As a result, the biggest value for many growing cryptocurrency businesses at Money2020’s event will be to meet more traditional financial players.
Banking stands out as a sector that needs to interface with the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry better. Banking and bitcoin are in a precarious position in relation to one another. Aggarwal said:
“The individuals that attend from these banks are the individuals that are generally responsible for innovation within the banks and figuring out where they take their organization.”
“There’s no doubt they’ve got to at least address this issue of what they do with bitcoin,” he added.
Education and content
Aggarwal believes that Money2020’s Bitcoin World is going to have to provide very fundamental cryptocurrency education for its attendees. “We think that you need to start at a 101,” he said, regarding getting attendees up to speed on the subject.
“We really need to parse through what is bitcoin, what is the right way to evaluate it. We think that the conversation needs to start at that very basic level.”
Because the conference is scheduled for November, organizers are taking a cautious approach to what will be relevant for their event at that point in time.
While Money2020 has many of its Bitcoin World speakers already lined up, specific panel topics will be ironed out later in the year.
Providing a broad framework that tells the real story of bitcoin is going to be important at the event, and it will be imperative to make that judgement call later in the year.
“We think that a lot of the stories that are out there around bitcoin [are] not the reality, it’s not well understood. We want to make sure it’s well understood because we believe the more it’s understood, the more [willing] the mainstream ecosystem [will be] to work with it,” said Aggarwal.
Anil Aggarwal, co-founder of Money2020, has vast experience in the financial technology industry. He was previously a fintech CEO for 15 years, and sold his last company to Google for $210m.
Prior to founding Money2020, Aggarwal was working on business development for Google Wallet.
“I started Money2020 because I felt that our industry really needed to come together around innovations in money. And that wasn’t happening.”
And unlike many events that are organized by companies that specialize in conferences, Money2020’s creation and planning comes from financial industry insiders.
“We’re a very unusual event. We didn’t come from an event company. We were really operators in the industry putting something together to bring the ecosystem together in new and important ways,” said Aggarwal.
This is the third year of the Money2020. In its first year, it garnered 1,200 attendees. Last year, there were 4,200. The organizers are forecasting 6,000 people this year, and have not yet decided whether or not they will cap it at that particular number.
Bitcoin payments at Money2020
Simran Aggarwal, the president of Money2020, says that the event is also trying to incorporate bitcoin transactions into the symposium itself. That’s why they are accepting bitcoin payments for conference sponsorships and registration.
Many vendors will also be accepting bitcoin, and possibly at the hotel that the event will be held at too. She said: “We’re talking with the Aria about the hotel taking bitcoin.”
“We’re not only believers, we’re followers. We practice what we believe in. Last year we gave our team bonuses in bitcoin. We’re having a lot of fun with it,” she said.
Money2020, along with its Bitcoin World track, will be held 2nd – 6th November at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Registration for the event is open now.