Vegas Money 20/20 Recap: Identity, Regulation, Innovation.

After a hectic few days in Las Vegas, I'm finally back to reality and recovered enough to reflect on my time at Money 20/20. This year was Onfido's first at the world’s biggest and best Payment and Financial Services event, where for five days, we showcased our solution and discussed the big issues with hundreds of fellow leaders in the field.

It was an incredible learning opportunity and an unparalleled chance to see innovation in action and, for me, a few topics stood out. Here’s what I found out about the current hot topics in identity and regulation, and where they’re headed next...


Making Personal Data Pay

One of the biggest problems currently facing financial inclusion is the ownership of identity. But what if you could take ownership of – and make money from – your own data? As marketing and advertising become increasingly personalised, ‘big data’ is gradually being replaced by small but valuable data. Your data points are a huge personal asset, and there’s no reason they couldn’t be used for commerce. Though legal precedents are still to be worked out, it’s a potentially enormous and currently unexplored marketplace that could mean big money for the masses.

Secure Blockchain Solutions

As this new data asset class emerges, identity is going to be crucial and, in particular, tying that data to an identity. This is where Blockchain comes in. Rather than keeping data in siloes, Blockchain is a collection of disparate data sets that can create a portable ID across different platforms. It allows you to take ownership of your own data by making your ID public while the data itself remains private. At present, we don’t have the practical mechanism to allow the ownership of data that could be so valuable – Blockchain makes it a real possibility.

Biometric Authentication

Users have become increasingly familiar with using their biometrics to access their accounts and applications: just think of the iPhone’s TouchID and the rise of the selfie! This presents financial institutions and Regtechs with a huge opportunity to increase fraud prevention through methods that are relatively frictionless for the user. Snapping a selfie to verify your identity through facial recognition is much easier than a trip to the bank. Innovations in this area created huge excitement at Money 2020, where over 1000 FinTech players attended a panel on Biometrics Innovation, making it standing room only.

Changes to European Payments Regulation (PSD2)

It’s not the catchiest concept, but it refers to something that all FinTechs are thinking and talking about: changes to the European Payment Service Directive, which will open up a whole new ecosystem of players into the payments world over the next 12 months. Under this new regulation, banks will be required to perform KYC verification on a much larger group of individuals, as innovators and disruptors continue to populate the market. Remote and robust identity verification is more important than ever in the FinTech space.

The Rise Of Regtech

Incredibly, 90% of the world’s data was created in the last six years alone, and the pace of change doesn’t look likely to slow down. But with that new data comes the need for new regulations to govern it, and it’s coming at a rate that most compliance teams are unable to manage. We need regulation technology to pick up the slack. In fact, RegTech has always existed – we just didn’t have a name for it. Now, as that technology is consolidated, restructured and applied to regulatory need, we’ll see it being weaved into our daily practices to augment existing intelligence and improve our current systems.


I also took to the stage to to talk about Machine Learning and AI, and how they’re powering next-generation customer experience for financial services. Don’t worry if you missed the session – I’ll be giving a webinar on the same topic on 4th November. You can join here.

If we didn’t manage to meet you at Money 20/20, or if you’d like to chat more, it’s not too late – we'd love to hear from you. We made more than a few new friends we’re very excited to be working with in the months to come, and have big things planned for our ever-evolving Identity Verification solution. Watch this space, and we’ll see you next time!

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Husayn is Onfido's CEO, and the smile behind the company. An entrepreneur by nature, Husayn was only 12 when he started up his first business: selling foreign music online.
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