Co-Founder, Afropolitan DAO
President & COO, Crypto.com
H.E. Sameh Al Qubaisi
Board Member, Wio Bank
CEO, Vulcan Forged
Managing Partner & Co-Founder, Nural Capital
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- The UAE is at the forefront of fintech innovation, and the pandemic has accelerated its fintech activities. The country is agile, has set an innovation timeline, and targets GDP share for the digital economy.
- Countries that have governments supporting innovation and fintech are ideal cases for companies like Crypto.com. Stablecoins and bitcoins play a role in keeping value in times of hyperinflation.
- Blockchain technology is necessary for Africa due to transparency and micropayment challenges. Crypto and stablecoins will help trade between African countries by reducing fees and ensuring transaction transparency.
- There is a need to look at scalability and faster protocols to improve financial transactions. Collaboration and interchain protocols are also essential.
- Tokenization has a lot of exciting elements, including NFTs, which are seen as collectibles. Tokenizing real estate would be critical in Africa, where issues are finding out who owns a deed.
- Afropolitan is developing the world's first digital nation based entirely on blockchain technology, revolutionizing how people live and work by creating a new digital ecosystem providing unprecedented security, transparency, and efficiency.
The "Fintech Revolution" session at Investopia 2023 brought together leaders in the fintech industry to discuss the evolution of technology and its impact on finance. The session featured Eric Anziani, President & COO of Crypto.com; H.E. Sameh Al Qubaisi, Board Member of Wio Bank, UAE; Chika Uwazie, Co-Founder of Afropolitan DAO; Jamie Thomson, CEO of Vulcan Forged, and was moderated by Rabia Iqbal, Managing Partner & Co-Founder of Nural Capital.
H.E. Sameh Al Qubaisi shared how the UAE realized that banking would always be different after the subprime crisis and launched the Ghadan21 program to ensure a banking revolution. The UAE and Abu Dhabi have been at the forefront of fintech innovation, and the pandemic accelerated the country's fintech activities. The UAE is number #1 in technology usage in the region and #13 globally. The country is currently working with numerous stakeholders to define the innovation baseline and determine what target GDP share the digital economy should have.
Eric Anziani discussed how Crypto.com rolled out its regional HQ for MEA to the UAE last year because the country is fertile for crypto and blockchain. Countries where governments support innovation and fintech, such as Singapore and France, are ideal cases for Crypto.com. Stablecoins and bitcoins play a role in keeping value in times of hyperinflation. Anziani noted that countries in the space for a long time include North Asia and countries moving assets into IT, entertainment, and gaming like South Korea and Japan.
Chika Uwazie explained how Afropolitan is building the first digital nation built on blockchain technology, which uses stablecoins and blockchain technology to send assets safely to Africa. Micropayments and different types of fintech can apply to Africa. It is essential to look at technologies that can be used to unlock governance and pull money together to invest. She noted that 10 of the growing population would be in Africa, and there needs to be more funding going to the continent.
Jamie Thomson noted how fintech and blockchain are evolving in front of our eyes, and gaming exemplifies this evolution. He discussed how NFTs started being developed, and we saw uses of blockchain for entertainment. The metaverse blew up, and we are still trying to define it. Thomson stated that ownership of assets in the digital world is where the future could be.
Rabia Iqbal asked the panel what was holding us back today. H.E. Sameh Al Qubaisi shared that the current payment system is based on an old model from the subprime era. Wio Bank focuses on offsets of existing models to solve problems, such as raising the operating costs of SMEs. The bank aims to onboard more SMEs and provide them with the right product. The next stage for the bank is wholesale banking and tokenizing real estate.
In conclusion, the panelists shared their favorite fintech apps. Jamie Thomson uses NatWest, Chika Uwazie uses USDC, Eric Anziani uses Crypto.com, Crypto.com exchange, DeFi Wallet, and H.E. Sameh Al Qubaisi uses Wio Bank. The discussion showed that the fintech industry is constantly evolving, and technology has the power to transform finance, particularly in emerging markets. The panelists emphasized the importance of collaboration, government support, and regulation to build a thriving fintech industry that benefits all.