It’s an exciting time within the global financial market, as discussions are underway at the annual IMF World Bank Meetings. Taking place in Bali, Indonesia from 8th-14th October, this forum provides the opportunity to discuss current economic global issues and hear from key economic leaders.

Key topics include the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development and aid effectiveness. You can follow the Twitter hashtag at #IMFMeetings for updates.

The Bali Fintech Agenda

A highly anticipated and exciting seminar this year is the Bali Fintech. Meaning Financial Technology, the Bali Fintech sought to address the opportunities and challenges surrounding technological innovations.

The Bali Fintech Agenda, IMF 2018

At the same time, this seminar brings new financial technologies like cryptocurrency and blockchain to the forefront. In turn, the panelists hoped to address the regulation and policies associated with the attached Bali Fintech agenda. A full summary of the Agenda is available here and you can watch the recorded seminar here.

Highlights of the seminar

With a stellar lineup including Geoff Cutmore, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Jim Yong Kim, Christine Lagarde, Lesetja Kganyago and Mark Carney, this seminar produced some interesting comments from some of the world’s top economic leaders.

Fintech as a unifying force

As a whole, there proved to be general consensus surrounding the benefits. This included the power of Fintech to unifying, to connect people across borders and be apart of exciting global change.

Lesetja Kganyago, senator of the South African Reserve Bank suggested Fintech’s ability to connect could also reduce poverty. This is through a more peer-to-peer approach, which would “reduce remittances between the developed world and the developing world” .

Reiterated by IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, poverty eradication and increased globalisation was at the forefront of discussion. In terms of how she views Fintech, Lagarde stated that:  

“My two priorities are to Make sure it [fintech] is used to include as many people in the financial world and second, make sure it doesn’t damage the financial stability that is common good for all of us”

Fintech’s power to disrupt

Another central point of discussion from this seminar was how Fintech is a disruptive and innovative force. Within this, Fintech was also suggested to be a tool to enhance efficiency and to ultimately improve the experience of consumers world wide.

With Jim Yong Kim celebrating the “enormous potential” of the distributed ledger and blockchain software, there was no doubt that these leaders realised the importance of integrating Fintech within the traditional financial market.

The other side of the coin 

This was not met with doubts, with the discussion meditator Geoff Cutmore opening with how the rapid technological developments are “uncomfortable”. It appeared that this was not the general consensus among panelists, who instead focused on the enormous potential and opportunities that come with embracing new technology.

So where does crypto fit in?

With Fintech encompassing all digital financial services and technology, it is difficult to decipher where crypto specifically fits in.

What we can say is there is growing acceptance for digital innovation within the financial sector. It is promising with many leaders at the summit expressing a willingness to embrace technological innovations.

What’s next

And for a relatively new technology like cryptocurrency and blockchain, discussions on a global stage are a positive step forward in the mainstream adoption for these technologies.

All in all, the crypto community can remain hopeful for wider acceptance for digital innovations.  As eloquently put at the beginning of the Bali Fintech Agenda, Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo, said:

“Without experimentation, there can be no innovation”