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I went back to my first real life event in almost three years and I couldn’t have picked a better conference. 

Money20/20 Europe is the largest global fintech event enabling payments and financial services innovation for connected commerce and this year took place in Amsterdam. The excitement in the conference centre was palatable – after two years of Zoom and Teams, the fintech community was itching to get back to human connections and return to more collaboration.

Some of the world’s biggest big brands were in attendance including HSBC, Visa, Mastercard, Spotify, OnlyFans, Starling, FIS and Stripe, with lots of great sessions covering topics from Buy Now, Pay Later and financial inclusion, to DeFi, decarbonising crypto, and NFTs.

Cognito managed media relations and comms for this year’s event, so we lived and breathed the conference. Here are my top takeaways from the event.

Moving past the pandemic 

Did we ever think this day would come? What was refreshing was all the talk about the future and what lies ahead. Covid was mentioned in the context of the acceleration of digitalisation and the expectation from consumers on their payment methods, how they want to transact.

Banks are stepping up the pace – we are seeing more collaboration across the industry. Banks, fintechs, influencers talked openly about how to tackle financial inclusion, meet changing consumer demand, working with regulators to figure, making the customer journey better, the future of the financial system and how that works.

Metaverse – an opportunity or a distraction?

There was much talk and excitement about the potential of the metaverse but for many brands it’s still early days. A major challenge is user experience with current hardware clunky and awkward.

Others pointed to the lack of regulation, declaring it will be critical and needs to be the foundation to enabling transactions. Regulation may be a while off but there is vast potential to unleash creativity for retailers and the potential to test new ideas is huge, where both the real and virtual worlds can interconnect and co-exist.

Crypto – what does the future hold?

Crypto prices have come down from the euphoric highs of last year, but the asset class still featured heavily at the conference. There were conversations around valuation, the market, regulation and fraud. It’s clear that there is a rebalancing and “right sizing” happening in the market, with some scaling back on investment, marketing and their workforce. But some product builds remain full speed ahead. 

Stripe CEO John Collinson called crypto more of a movement rather than a technology. He sees the opportunity only if crypto can help customers solve problems. For Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank, protecting customers from fraud is her number one priority when it comes to crypto and called out the regulators to do more.

Startups – the change-makers of the future

This year, 20 of the world’s industry-leading startups were invited to join this year’s show to help shape their business and gain visibility. On The Evolution Stage, we watched as startups pitched solutions to widespread industry problems and connect with leading venture capitalists in the payments, financial services and fintech space. It was inspiring to hear from companies motivated by a real desire to address the pain-points of the industry. 

In a rare acquisition of a U.S. technology company by an African technology company, Dare Okoudjou, Founder and CEO of MFS Africa, announced it had acquired Global Technology Partners (GTP). Money20/20 provided an important platform to celebrate and showcase the companies leading the charge and who are redefining the future of fintech in emerging markets. 


Diversity of representation and thought within fintech is vital in creating the ecosystem of the future. Only 1.5% of fintech companies are solely founded by women and just 6% of CEOs are women. This year, 41% of the over 300 speakers taking the stage were female subject-matter experts, delivering the important message that for true innovation and positive movement in the space, we need to give a platform to those from diverse backgrounds. 

It would be impossible to honor every impactful female speaker, but Helen Hai, Head of NFT and Fan Token at Binance, Keily Blair, Chief Strategy and Operations Officer at Only Fans, Charlotte Hog, CEO of Visa Europe, and Ruth Spratt, Country Manager at Zip, all delivered powerful and refreshing sessions that will be remembered for a long time to come. 

As well as Money20/20 facilitating important conversations around diversity and gender imbalance in the fintech world, the RiseUp Programme equips women with the tools and support to unlock the next steps in their careers. Whilst the sessions were closed-doors, it was truly inspiring to hear of an initiative that puts diversity and inclusion at the center of the show. 

Media relationships still matter

Over 200 journalists attended the event from all over Europe, including The Economist, CNBC, FT, Bloomberg, Reuters. Meeting journalists and the media, they were all happy to be out and listening to the panel discussions and meeting with spokespeople.

Relationship building really does form the foundation of any great brand and media campaign and nothing beats the conference floor as a setting.  There were also plenty of companies doing their own media too from vox pops to podcasts to being part of the discussion on social media.

As I reflect back on the conference, I’m going to quote Joseph Lowery. In some ways  “Everything has changed and nothing has changed”. The world around us has changed for all the reasons that we know but the importance of human interaction and connection within the community shone through. Bring on Vegas in October.

Yvonne Maher is the managing director of Cognito’s London office