Published February 19, 2023

3 minute read

Decrypting the Future of Fintech and Digital Assets

The financial industry is facing new challenges with the rise of ultra-high speed AI trading, blockchain technologies, and unconventional financial services platforms. This is causing blue chip banks to make significant investments in fintech. But what are the most promising technologies that the industry should be aware of? What regulatory shifts do investors need to prepare for? To what extent is the boom in the NFT market and the emergence of the Central Bank Digital Currency sustainable and indicative of long-term asset shifts?

Session Speakers: 
Assaf Barnea

Assaf Barnea

CEO, Sanara Ventures

Astyanax Kanakakis

Astyanax Kanakakis

Co-founder and CEO, Norbloc

Brady Dougan

Brady Dougan

Founder and CEO, Exos

Eric Anziani

Eric Anziani

President & COO,

H.E. Sameh Al Qubaisi

H.E. Sameh Al Qubaisi

Board Member, Wio Bank

Patrick Chalhoub

Patrick Chalhoub

Group President, Chalhoub Group

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Key Takeaways

  • The Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDED) has a project team that looks at capital markets, including SPAC regulations and SPVs, tokenization, and virtual asset laws.
  • Exos is a challenger institutional financial service provider that acts like Morgan Stanley on the AliBaba technology platform.
  • According to Al Qubaisi from ADDED, while banks can bring technology, they can't change the operating model.
  • Astyanax Kanakakis from norblock finds it surprising that regulators have been slow to adopt digital asset regulations despite its growing importance.
  • Brady Dougan from Exos believes that starting from scratch is a major advantage for big banks.
  • Dougan also believes that DeFi is an interesting early stage market, while mature markets are limited, and crypto allows for a better infrastructure for the market overall.
  • Al Qubaisi from ADDED believes that speculation and mis-selling are major issues, and regulators must think carefully about controlling these activities.
  • Eric Anziani from believes that the interface between traditional money and new money should be regulated.
  • According to Kanakakis, CBDCs offer operational efficiencies and transparency, but also centralization.
  • Anziani believes that CBDCs are not crypto currencies but a use of blockchain.
  • Al Qubaisi from ADDED believes that the wholesale market will dictate whether CBDCs are needed or not.
  • Dougan from Exos believes that regulation is a net-positive and will become more homogenous and seamless with time.
  • Anziani from believes that companies should set up locally and work within local frameworks.

  • Sameh Al Qubaisi from ADDED oversees Abu Dhabi's economy and looks at individuals as well. ADDED has a project team that looks at capital markets, including SPAC regulations and SPVs, tokenization, and virtual assets.
  • Eric Anziani from helps people enter the new economy and has opened an office in Dubai.
  • Brady Dougan from Exos spent 40 years in finance and was the CEO of Credit Suisse for 25 years. Exos is a challenger institutional financial service provider that acts like Morgan Stanley on the AliBaba technology platform.
  • Astyanax Kanakakis from norblock has a background in financial services and connects banks and Fortune 500 companies to share KYC data.
  • Patrick Pulvermueller from Acronis is a cyber protection firm with 25 years of experience in IT.

The world of finance is rapidly changing with the introduction of ultra-high-speed AI trading and blockchain technologies. While these innovations bring new opportunities and increased efficiency, they also raise concerns about cybersecurity and the potential for unconventional financial services platforms. This has led blue chip banks to invest heavily in the next generation of fintech, hoping to stay ahead of the curve. However, the pace of technological advancement and regulatory shifts can be difficult to navigate, and the industry is grappling with several critical questions. What technologies are the most promising for the future of finance? How can the industry adapt to new regulations, and what regulatory changes should investors be prepared for? And, perhaps most critically, how sustainable is the boom in the NFT market and what does the emergence of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) mean for long-term asset shifts?

To address these questions and better understand the future of finance, a panel of experts was assembled, including Sameh Al Qubaisi of ADDED, Eric Anziani of, Brady Dougan of Exos, Astyanax Kanakakis of norblock, and Patrick Pulvermueller of Acronis. These experts come from different backgrounds, with experience in financial services, blockchain, cyber protection, and more, and they offer unique insights into the future of finance.

One key theme that emerged from the panel was the importance of regulation in the digital asset and cryptocurrency space. There was near-consensus that regulation is a net-positive for the industry, with Brady Dougan of Exos saying, "It's natural for regulation to kick in at this stage. With time, we will see lots of heterogeneous approaches becoming more homogenous and seamless. Volumes will be higher and it will be more dependable." Eric Anziani of agreed, adding that "you should set up locally, talk to people in their language and you need to operate locally. You have to work within local frameworks."

Sameh Al Qubaisi of ADDED emphasized the need for regulators to think carefully about the potential for mis-selling, saying "speculation is one issue but mis-selling is another big issue. Regulators must think carefully about that- “How do we manage high schoolers trading? There has to be controls.” On the other hand, Astyanax Kanakakis of norblock emphasized the benefits of CBDCs, saying "CBDCs offer tremendous operational efficiencies, and a lot of transparency. Yet, it offers a lot of centralization. It places a lot of emphasis on the government's hands." Eric Anziani of added that "CBDCs aren’t crypto currencies- they are a use of blockchain."

Another topic that the panel addressed was the emergence of decentralized finance (DeFi) and the impact of this technology on the financial services industry. Brady Dougan of Exos saw this as an opportunity for challenger institutions like Exos, saying "DeFi is interesting because this is an early stage market while mature markets are limited. Crypto allows a better infrastructure for the market overall." Eric Anziani of emphasized the importance of bridging the gap between traditional finance and DeFi, saying "the interface between traditional money and new money should be regulated. “We set up our business with a foundation of compliance and security, bridging the tech to the mainstream.”

Exos, which Brady Dougan leads, is positioning itself as the first institutional financial service provider challenger. Dougan describes Exos as "Morgan Stanley but on AliBaba tech platform" and sees it as the future of finance. ADDED, led by Sameh Al Qubaisi, is focusing on capital.

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