Fintech Inn, the largest financial technology (fintech) conference in the Baltic and Nordic countries, opened in Vilnius; this year it will be a record with over 3,000 participants, representing more than 500 companies from around the world. Organizers of the conference say that these figures show that Lithuania is visible and known on the world map of Fintech, and, that the chosen direction of financial technologies is relevant and necessary.
“I am very pleased that in such a short period of time Lithuania has become the center of Fintech that the whole world is talking about. The key to our success story is a common strategic and progressive approach and action at all levels of the Fintech ecosystem. This record-breaking conference, which has grown tens of times over the years, not only illustrates that we have chosen the right path, but also allows us to grow our country’s competitive edge on the Fintech map”, says Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka.
Fintech enables to increase competition in the financial services market and offers a wider choice for the consumer. Recent research reveals that the population is supporting innovation and development of financial technologies.
“Even 81 percent considers the possibility of instant payments as very or rather attractive and necessary, as against 61% a year ago. One-tenth of respondents say they pay by mobile phone. So we are going in the right direction. The market must continue to offer innovation, and we as institutions must encourage it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next year we talk about city currencies or green investments and how they contribute to socially responsible finances”, – says Marius Jurgilas, Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.
According to Marius Skuodis, Vice-Minister of Economics and Innovation, the benefits of the Fintech sector to the state are obvious: the active Fintech sector allows attracting well-known companies that create new jobs in the country.
“The Fintech sector started only 3 years ago and is growing at around 40 percent annually. Today, this sector is already one of the business cards of Lithuania abroad, – a large part of financial technology companies choose Lithuania because of favorable regulation, excellent infrastructure and talented specialists,” says M. Skuodis.
With the ever-changing needs of consumers in the area of financial services, digitalisation of services will be a dominant theme at the Fintech Inn conference this year. Given the rapid growth of Fintech companies, there will inevitably be new challenges, and money laundering prevention and cyber security issues will not be left behind. Much attention will be given to discussions on challenges and development experiences of blockchain technology.
In addition to listening to top-level presentations, conference attendees will have the opportunity to discover the unique payment and investment innovations offered by Fintech companies in the existing exhibit space; already more than 1,000 business-to-business (B2B) meeting sessions are scheduled. In the Fintech sector, it is important to not only be interested in technologies, their capabilities, to master them, but also to share experiences and learn from each other. “The world is becoming global, so we will only achieve more through collaboration,” said Sukhi Jutla, speaker at Fintech Inn, founder of MarketOrders.net and the author of three books on “blockchain”.
Fintech market leaders, such as: Matteo Carbone, an insurance technology (“insurtech”) star from Italy, Laurence Cooke (Canada), head of “nanopay Corporation”, in which “Goldman Sachs”, one of Wall Street’s most famous banks has invested more than 10 million US dollars; German Tamaz Georgadze, the founder of Fintech start-up “Raisin”, Alexander von Schirmeister, vice president of Europe’s leading mobile checkout terminal “SumUp” are coming to the conference this year.
The Fintech Inn Conference is organized by: Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania, Ministry of Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, Bank of Lithuania, Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA) and Public Enterprise “Invest in Lithuania”. All these institutions have joined forces to make Lithuania the leader in Fintech in Europe.
Lithuania is already widely recognized as one of the most attractive countries for Fintech startups in the European Union. According to the number of licenses issued by electronic money institutions in 2018, the last year Lithuania was below only the United Kingdom, which in 2018 distributed 146 such licenses. The number of licensed Fintech companies operating in the country increased by as much as 69 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. (87 to 113). This situation was determined by the fact that the regulatory environment in Lithuania is favorable to start-up prosperity – a particularly favorable attitude of legislators and regulators about new financial technologies. The Bank of Lithuania is recognized as one of the most advanced regulators not only in the EU, but also globally, according to the Ease of Doing Business Index. Lithuania ranked 11th out of 190 countries in 2019.