Ten years ago a financial technology event of this global scale taking place in Belfast Northern Ireland wasn’t even seen as a reality. Yet from Sunday we have saw the leading members of the FinTech industry descend on a mass scale to the city from all corners on the world.
MoneyConf is the sister event of the world renowned Web Summit which has been held in Dublin over the last four years and organised by founder Paddy Cosgrave. The attendance has grown from an initial 400 to last year’s staggering 20,000 in attendance.
Beginning on Monday morning the sun beamed down over the North of Ireland as Paddy Cosgrave gave his opening speech at the T13 which is where the event was held in the Titanic Quarter area of the city.
It was a defining moment for Belfast as a global competitor base in the Financial Technology arena as the city was showcased to attendees from all around the globe and some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. FDi Markets, a service from the Financial Times, ranked Belfast as the Number 1 city globally for Fintech investment.
Leading figures from the traditional financial world including Visa, PayPal, Western Union, Santander, MasterCard and American Express as well as representatives from numerous banking institutions were all in attendance in what has been dubbed the “Glastonbury for nerds.”
Then from the digital currency industry there was a superstar line up of speakers including the CEO and co-founder of Bitpay Stephen Pair, Nicholas Cary co-founder of Blockchain, Charlie Lee founder of Litecoin, Koinify founder Tom Ding, Elliptic COO Tom Robinson and Patrick Murck from the Bitcoin Foundation to name but a few.
There were over 1,200 attendees from 50 different countries; the feedback so far has been excellent according to Mr. Cosgrave.
Alongside this amazing line up of speakers there were numerous companies throughout the T13 Hub showcasing their services and products as well a start-up pitch area in which 50 newly founded companies had an opportunity to showcase their businesses to potential venture capitalists.
The overall winner of the start-up pitch was BlockCypher a block chain web services company who only recently received $3.1 million in their seed funding round in January.
The nightlife scene was buzzing around the city with the place to be on the first night being the Dirty Onion which is one of Belfast’s oldest buildings reintroduced as a traditional public house with a twist, and Irish traditional music on tap seven nights a week.
Last night the official MoneyConf finale party kicked off at the Harp Bar on Hill Street with live music from Rory Conway, I’m pretty sure there will be some sever hangovers from this today.
MoneyConf will be back in Belfast next year with dates confirmed for June 20th to 21st 2016 in the same location with a much bigger event being prepared for it.
If the way the sister event Web Summit is anything to go by growing in attendance as it has, the future for Belfast and FinTech conferences couldn’t look any more positive.
Web Summit takes place in Dublin this coming 3-5th of November and if there is another FinTech based conference that is a must to be attended, this is most definitely it.
I’ll leave you with the final post of Paddy Cosgrave where he announced next year’s event under the heading “We’re Coming Back.”
“The past couple of days in Belfast for MoneyConf have been incredible. Walking around the t13 venue, I’ve chatted with some great start-ups and listened to some amazing talks by world-class speakers.”
“Over 1,200 attendees have joined us from nearly 50 different countries, and the feedback so far has been very positive. We’re going to take all the feedback on board, good and bad, and work hard on making MoneyConf 2016 even better.”
“I mentioned in my last post that fDi Markets, a service from the Financial Times, ranked Belfast as the Number 1 city globally for Fintech investment. From being here, I can see that the Fintech community is very much alive and kicking in this city. From the dinners we’ve hosted to the buzz of the opening parties around the Cathedral Quarter, MoneyConf has found a home in Belfast.”
“Which is why I’m excited to say that we will return to Belfast again for MoneyConf in 2016. You’ll find us here from June 20-21. T13 has been a wonderful venue – between the double decker buses and meeting places on skate ramp half-pipes. We hope to return here for 2016 – stay tuned.