We’re gearing up for Money20/20 in Las Vegas, the unmissable conference for those in payments and financial innovation. With about 12,000 attendees, the four-day show promises insights from hundreds of speakers on a broad range of topics, with valuable discussions and opportunities for start-ups and established companies alike.

Here are the sessions that have caught our eye:

Session 1: RegTech Revolution: Who is Leading the Charge & Where Do Regulators Stand?

Date: Sunday October 22, 3:10 – 3:30pm 
Speakers: Michael Meyer, RegTech Lab || Alexandra Villareal O’Rourke, McGuire Woods
In a nutshell: Reviewing both the RegTech industry and regulators’ expectations

“Over the past year, an emerging group of startups have launched a RegTech revolution. By providing faster, cheaper and more accurate ways to manage regulatory risk, these companies have fully captured the industry’s imagination. Recent indications are that regulators are not only welcoming the use of RegTech but might soon come to expect it. In this market review, get up to speed on the most innovative developments in RegTech, from intelligent identity verification tools to credit risk solutions that make black-box underwriting models transparent.”

‘RegTech’ has been around for only a few years as a category, but several years before that without the fancy name. Along the way, the category’s growth has been accelerating as it has offered financial institutions the ability to do more for less money. IdentityMind is a pioneer in the space, introducing digital identities and electronic DNA (eDNA™) helping companies around the world to leverage the efficiencies of digital identities and big data to streamline risk and compliance processes.

Session 2: Payments Innovation: Where Does Compliance Fit On Your Product Roadmap?

Date: Tuesday October 24, 2:40 – 3:00pm 
Speakers: Jacqueline Molnar, Western Union
In a nutshell: How can startups address compliance issues while staying competitive?

Developing innovative payments products is hard. Unfortunately, 2017 was a race to the bottom for many startups forced to reduce costs while layering in necessary compliance and customer service functions. Although entrepreneurship is founded on risk, startups are seeking standardized approaches towards “de-risking” to remain competitive and grow market share. The year ahead will bring new efforts to productize and standardize compliance for companies of all sizes. As Chief Compliance Officer at Western Union, this is something Jacqueline Molnar oversees every day. In this session, she’ll provide valuable insights to navigate challenges and avoid pitfalls along your innovation roadmap.”

FinTech companies are founded to make financial services better, however they are encumbered by legacy regulations. For example, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are the hottest thing in FinTech, but they’re regulated by the Howey Test of 1946. Companies that are excited to get their idea off the ground lose momentum when they realize that they must comply with regulations, especially when they’re regulations that haven’t kept up with technology. At IdentityMind Global, we help the fintech industry address this obstacle head-on and are part of the ‘productized’ and ‘standardized’ solution that helps get these ideas onto the market.

Session 3: Financial Innovation & Consumer Protection: Finding the Right Balance

Date: Sunday October 22, 1:30 – 2:20pm
Moderator: JoAnn Barefoot, Barefoot Innovation Group
Panel: Tim Chen, NerdWallet || Jeff Foster, Clara Lending || Tim Pawlenty, Financial Services Roundtable || Duane Pozza, Federal Trade Commission
In a nutshell: An industry-level look at recalibrating regulations to foster an innovative environment

“Consumer protection regulations exist to foster fairness and access but sometimes do the opposite, stifling innovation that could make financial services more affordable, accessible, transparent, and simple to choose and use. Startups can’t afford heavy legal and compliance overhead. Banks avoid innovation that can’t fit neatly into old regulatory molds. And new capital often shuns finance due to regulatory fears. This panel of government and business leaders will explore what to do, and even how to get it done.”

Both financial institutions and regulators know that in the US innovation is stifled AND regulators aren’t getting the information they need. One reason for this is the existing laws and regulations. Led by Ms. Barefoot, who has made progress on this exact issue with her work at Hummingbird RegTech, this session brings together regulators (FTC), financial institutions (Nerd Wallet + Clara Lending), and business advocacy groups (Financial Services Roundtable led by former Minnesota Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate Tim Pawlenty). Expect them to name which laws and regulations need to change, and the steps required for this to occur.

Because of the recent explosion of identity data breaches, the privacy regulations will likely become more stringent. This shift in turn will affect how business will need to operate to meet the Anti Money Laundering regulations (i.e. Bank Secrecy Act, Patriot Act). At IdentityMind we wrestled with the dichotomy of keeping sufficient identity data to meet regulatory demands while respecting the privacy of the consumers. We achieved a technical solution to this problem which has allowed us to serve the global markets, even those where privacy laws are very strict.

Session 4: The Rise of Initial Coin Offerings: Sustainable Game-Changer or Risky Proposition?

Date: Tuesday October 24, 3:10 – 4:00pm 
Moderator: David Bailey, BTC Media
Panel: Ted Livingston, Kik || Dan Morehead, Pantera Capital || Matthew Roszak, Bloq || Renqi Shen, Fenbushi Capital || Erik Syvertsen, AngelList
In a nutshell: What are ICOs, are they here to stay, and how far-reaching will their impact be?

“2017 saw the emergence and dominance of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) — a paradigm-shifting, crowdfunding framework leveraging cryptocurrency that allows anybody anywhere to invest in whatever he or she chooses. This revolutionary money raising technique has not only allowed for the funding of hundreds of different and new ideas and platforms, but has also created a new class of investors — the everyday consumer. The potential is there for ICOs to revolutionize financial markets and the way we all interact with them. At the same time, regulatory rulings could dampen or even halt the technology’s use. This panel will seek to analyze whether the ICO is the future — or just a fad.”

Over $2.4b has been raised by ICOs this year. A fund-raising mechanism that didn’t exist 5 years ago surpassed venture capital for early stage companies. ICOs enable anyone to raise money quickly, no matter their location, experience, gender, education, etc… All without losing any equity in the company they’re building.

Regulators around the world are speaking out on ICOs, 26% of the world’s population lives in a country where ICOs are regulated and this number is increasing every week as nearly every government in the world is studying ICO regulation. IdentityMind is proud to have helped tens of companies launch their ICO, performing the necessary KYC and risk mitigation to ensure they don’t have to return the money while meeting regulatory requirements.

Session 5: Reimagining Cross-Border Payments: Simpler, Faster, Cheaper & More Accessible

Date: Tuesday October 24, 3:10 – 4:00pm 
Moderator: Jon Steitz, McKinsey & Company
Panel: Ismail Ahmed, WorldRemit || John Kunze, Paypal || Jed McCaleb, Stellar Development Foundation || Hank Uberoi, Earthport
In a nutshell: What’s being done to make remittances better?

“The biggest transfer of funds from the rich world to developing countries comes in the form of remittances—transfers from foreign workers back to friends and relatives in their home country. The World Bank estimates that nearly $600 billion in remittances are sent globally each year. Thus, cross-border remittances are a critical financial lifeline for many people around the world. New use cases for P2P cross-border transfers, such as tuition payments, and emerging technologies, including digital currencies and real-time payments, are opening new corridors for P2P payments and expanding existing ones. But fees of up to 29% are still being charged on money transfers between some countries. Despite a pledge by the G8 in 2009 to halve the world’s mean remittance fee to 5%, the average transfer fee is more than 8%. The market is still dominated globally by a few major players although vibrant with new mobile and online money transfer solutions and business models. Join this panel of innovators as they discuss the daunting challenge of reimagining cross-border payments to make them simpler, cheaper and more accessible.”

International payments were one of the first industries that FinTech firms went after, in large part due to the the average transfer fees, especially for consumers who are more price sensitive. Some of these firms have grown into billion dollar companies, however remittances are still comparatively expensive, especially for the poorest countries. This panel will discuss what has been done and what still needs to happen. IdentityMind helps reduce risk for over 30 Money Service Businesses with services such as automated onboarding, sanctions screening and fraud prevention.

Session 6: Identity is Fundamental: What You Need to Know About Identity & The Future of Money

Date: Wednesday October 25, 8:30 – 10:00am 
Moderators: David Birch, Consult Hyperion || Brett McDowell, FIDO Alliance
Panel: Philip Andreae, Philip Andreae & Associates || Andre Boysen, SecureKey || Franklin Garrigues, TD Bank || Douglas Hartung, Diebold Nixdorf || Richard Lobovsky, Samsung SDS America || Al Pascual, Javelin Strategy & Research || Anand Pashupathy, Intel
In a nutshell: What if banks became the centralised keepers of our identities, credentials and reputations?

“Digital identity is the single biggest problem that the financial services world faces in 2017. In fact, as Conor O’Higgins recently wrote on CryptoInsider, designing a solid digital identity system may be the biggest problem of the digital age. We agree. Unless there is a mass market solution to this problem, there will always be a limit to scale and scope of digital financial services.

Now, there are many people working to deliver a solution, but for a variety of reasons some of us think it might be good for regulated financial institutions to be the providers of digital identities for consumers and businesses.  Why? Banks used to be the places where we stored our money. But in the US today, cash and demand deposits are now down to only one tenth of household financial assets. We store our money in stocks, pensions, funds, Bitcoin and fine wine instead. In the future, banks will be the places where we store our identities, our credentials and above all our reputations. And they have a head start, because they already have strict know-your-customer systems in place. These are cost, but they could be a benefit if they deliver security and privacy to customers.

In this workshop session, we will explore in depth how bank-centered digital identity businesses might look, examine some new technology developments in the space and work through the detailed case study of the Canadian banks’ solution that is currently under development.”

IdentityMind pioneered the concept of digital identity and even trademarked the term ‘trusted digital identity’ several years ago. The market is now catching-up to the promise of digital identity, especially with the hack of major data brokers. However, the question becomes who should own a consumer’s digital identity? Should it be the consumers themselves? If so, how can they validate themselves sufficiently that Financial Institutions and more importantly regulators could approve it? Should it be Financial Institutions? If so, how can it be ported to other financial institutions without an American PSD2 initiative that would take years and cost billions to implement?

Hungry for more? You can explore all the sessions at Money20/20 by theme here, or check out the demos, case studies & announcements space to surf the wave of all the new things the industry has to offer, in short ten-minute sessions, including this session on B2B payments from our client Veem.