Wozniak set to tackle FinTech phenomenon at The GCC Financial Forum 2019


History has given us some great double-acts. In the business world, few can match the achievements of the duo behind the game-changing tech giant Apple Inc. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded arguably the most influential and powerful tech company the world has ever seen. Jobs, though often given the majority of the praise for Apple’s revolutionary formation, couldn’t have done it alone. Wozniak’s input was indispensable. Without him, there would be no Apple Inc. as we know it. Together they challenged convention and changed the world.

So, as the world’s economy continues to evolve and industries disrupted by new technology, who better but Wozniak to share his vision on the next wave of tech disruption, and how we can prime ourselves for the change.

Having founded Apple with Jobs in 1976, Wozniak masterminded the launch of the company’s first personal computers. From there, the rest is living history. Now, everything we have at our fingertips – from food delivery apps to personal banking – we can thank Wozniak and Jobs for.

Wozniak’s keynote, which will be one of many highlights at Bahrain Fintastic Week, will focus on blockchain and the impact of the financial technology sector. Significantly, the 68-year-old American entrepreneur is especially active in advocating the benefits of cryptocurrencies: an area that several Bahraini startups are helping to advance.

Wozniak has said that he buys-in to Jack Dorsey’s view that bitcoin could be the global currency in 10 years because, as he told CNBC in an interview in June, it’s “not that I necessarily believe it’s going to happen but because I want it to be that way.”

Further, Wozniak has been impressed by the concept of decentralisation and the purity of the approach that bitcoin offers. And while he believes that FinTech will encourage many big tech companies into finance, it’s clear that he believes, and hopes, that smaller challenger FinTech companies will grow rapidly to scale. This sentiment is precisely the movement that Bahrain is trying to foster with the Central Bank of Bahrain recently launching a draft regulation for cryptocurrencies, a regulatory sandbox for FinTech startups to test their products, and Bahrain FinTech Bay – a growing, highly-concentrated co-working space and hub for FinTech companies based in Manama.

Wozniak’s address comes at a time when FinTech is changing the world more rapidly than ever before. Approximately $17.4 billion worth of investment was pumped into FinTech industries last year. According to Ernst & Young’s FinTech Adoption Index, a third of worldwide consumers use two or more FinTech services, while awareness of FinTech has increased by 22 per cent from last year.

Wozniak believes this trend will accelerate. He thinks the underlying technology behind many FinTech firms, like blockchain, will become commonplace, in much the same way that personal computers and the internet have become indispensable to modern life.

But it could take up to 10-15 years to take hold: the technology is compelling, but people will need time to get used to it.

These kinds of insights are what the crowd at the GCC Financial Forum 2019 – running from 26-27 February – can look forward to. The event, which is co-hosted by Euromoney and the Bahrain Economic Development Board, is one of the key events of Fintastic Bahrain week and will focus on the reinvention of financial services.

Over 800 global participants are set to meet, network, and share their thoughts on how the financial services sector is evolving. So, to get piercing insights into an industry that is defining the future of the economic landscape, register now.

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