November 28 2018
Discussions on blockchain, crypto currencies and Initial coin offering (ICOs) marked the third seminar of the partnership between the International Chamber of Commerce Qatar (ICC Qatar) and Thomson Reuters that was held at the Qatar Chamber.
The seminar supported by Qatar Chamber was titled “How Can Innovation Stimulate Growth in Qatar?”
Samer Mahfouz, who is leading the applied innovation at Thomson Reuters for the MENA region, was the seminar’s keynote speaker.
In addition to blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and ICOs (initial coin offerings) he also discussed regulation versus innovation, banks and fintech, innovation in Islamic finance and artificial intelligence and its potential.
Mahfouz said that the innovation concept is the application of technologies to improve productivity of goods and services.
It aims to achieve four goals; higher productivity, greater output, more improved goods, services, and economic growth, he noted.
He also talked about the ‘Fintech’ term, which first emerged in 1980 to refer to new technology and innovation in the financial sector.
According to Mahfouz, Fintech is the industry that consists of companies that create or sell financial technology.
Sectors of Fintech companies include lending, Crypto, Regtech, personal finance, billing, insurance, capital markets, wealth management, remittances, mortgage and real estate.
He noted that in the first half of 2018 the global investment in fintech companies hit $ 6 billion across 875 deals.
Mahfouz pointed out that Qatar should open its banking system to fintechs and standardize its regulations to facilitate fintechs setups, operation and mobility.
In his focus on blockchain, he said that it is changing the future of transaction-based industries.
Last year, global remittances reached $ 600 billion, of which $ 30 billion (5%) are transfer fees, he added.