Day 2: at the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MMOFA).
The second day included several keynote speeches and panel discussions. Some of the topics included:
- Rise of Fintech: Mongolia as a greenfield
- Fintech Ecosystems and Applications
- Managing Risk and Compliance
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Damdin Tsogtbaatar, started the second day with a welcoming keynote speech. The minister is a strong believer that blockchain, mathematics and science will lead the innovations of tomorrow. He said that blockchain technology will greatly help with automating financial systems and other areas and it may be able to help ‘program’ our various daily and social life aspects.
The minister foresees ‘unlimited’ potential for blockchain, for example, to make governmental processes more democratized and allow more diplomatic decisions to be made, not only limited to Mongolia. He further stresses the focus of decision making between nations with the help of blockchain, in particular the accountability and transparency between nation states. Finally, the minister noted that, “if they (Mongolians) don’t start leading the way now, others soon will.”
Charles Keynote speech @ the MMOFA roundtable
Charles also provided a keynote in which he started off by expressing his gratitude for the warm welcome he’s received from the officials and organizers, and he introduced his company, IOHK.
After a brief intro, Charles mentioned America as being at the frontier of technological development and that it will always try to keep innovating its technology and financial markets, including society as a whole.
”How to proceed from here to there, in terms of the adoption of blockchain technology? How we can help the unbanked to a financial system solution?”
Charles continued about the many Mongolian entrepreneurs who have great innovative ideas to create solutions. He further stressed the necessity of limitless & leaderless systems, systems without borders or cultural and linguistic differences. A good example of this is the Creative Commons licenses and how they changed (and are still changing) the landscape of the big licensing industries.
”Together we are making progress. And the progress cannot be done by a single company. The world has to come together.”
He next asked himself the question of “How do we enter Mongolia? To which he answered, “we enter through education. Similar to Ethiopia, we’re about to do the same in Mongolia. We want to focus, in particular, on blockchain related courses and educating developers.”
The main focus of the courses will be: What problem do we want to solve? And in Mongolia, there are several (big) problems, such as: air pollution, and counterfeit drugs.”
The Rise of Fintech: Mongolia as a greenfield - Panel Discussion:
During this panel, Charles commented that Ethiopia has been a challenge.
“We started with the idea of creating a simple utility payment system. And then realised basic things like transportation weren’t properly set up. The MoU with Ethiopia was mainly meant to develop a utility coin and payment system. We then realized we can add other government functions to this utility system: such as holding referenda and voting. These are the kind of opportunities that we can open up.”
One of the more interesting questions asked by the moderator was for both the Minister of FA Tsogtbaatar and Charles: “When can we have (mobile phone) voting?
Minister Tsogtbaatar said that in theory this is already possible, however, he adds that in today’s day and age, this is still risky. This is because the necessary infrastructure and technology is still in its development stages. Additionally, not everyone has a mobile phone. Some people cannot afford a mobile phone and this poses a risk of leaving out voters. This is the reality, but are working towards making the blockchain-based, mobile voting system, a reality.
Charles also added that voting on chain is possible, but it depends on what kind of rate of success the government desires. There are competency and fidelity questions that need to be answered. A multi-model system is needed, whereby it needs to move from executive legislative power to the private sector for a successful bottom-up approach. How do we identify people properly when they vote? These are challenging questions and topics to expand upon.
One example to note is that of Estonia (Mobile ID - e-Estonia). They use a phone number (issued by the government) to tackle the identity verification problem. Mongolia is currently looking to Estonian laws for possible implementation for their own regulatory models.
Afternoon Panel Discussion: Fintech Ecosystems and Applications
The summit held another panel discussion that Manmeet Singh, CIO at Emurgo, was part of.
In the discussion on Fintech ecosystems and applications, Manmeet added that he foresees a future where blockchain removes many intermediaries and third parties that otherwise exist between legacy financial and logistics/supply chain systems. Currently, these intermediaries do more harm than good in terms of overall business health.
He added that a certain level of risk management of implementing new blockchain technologies needs to be set up. Blockchain is decentralized, which is something completely opposite to what financial industries today are. A lot of financial institutions are currently playing around with blockchain enabled solutions. But if blockchain technology were to be adopted by banks in a closed-walled system (private blockchains), this would be no different than today’s bank databases. The catch is how to be transparent while making sure certain institutions’ financial details are not being compromised.
Furthermore, he asked the following questions: how we can verify the goods and products on the blockchain properly? Where is it coming from? who handled them? How can we guarantee the data and working ethics in an open and transparent way? To this, Manmeet includes that it is paramount that these goods and products be traced back to the beginning; this will generate the trust necessary for industries & consumers alike.
FrontierFinTech Summit Day 3:
The third and final day was held at the Shangri-La Hotel and the event kicked off with a welcoming speech from Mr. Tsogtbaatar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, and Mr. Dagva, City Council Chairman.
Blockchain & The Emergence of Digital Assets
Charles gave another speech here which was particularly focused on developing blockchain and shared economies. After a brief introduction of IOHK, Charles moved over to talk about distributed ledgers and what they are. Specifically, how they can be applied in supply chain solutions in Mongolia, Ethiopia and other countries. He commented on whether supply chains should be open or closed, and talked about the need for both consensus and truth.
The big difference between databases and blockchain:
Charles further continued to discuss how blockchain is immutable, while databases can be edited. Depending on the utility or application, one of these two is desired. Some things should never be changed, such as financial records, or land registries. In the future it will be possible to move your personal data in between these various industries. Like connecting to another mobile network when you visit another country, it will become seamless.
Paramount is that these systems become secure, trusted and highly reliable. Blockchain should be able to provide the tools to overcome these hurdles and make them interconnected.
Charles mentioned IOHK’s project in Ethiopia for utilities payments and an identity system solution, but also how it can be used for public government polling where people can vote on public issues. “It’s not ‘easy’ to develop.”
The opportunities for entrepreneurs are limitless. But you have to ask the question: what problem do we want to solve?
IOHK is currently thinking of running a pilot IoT project in Mongolia for air quality management and pollution data assessment, so that they may use this framework for other areas like traffic, water quality and infrastructure readings. People could be incentivized to help collect these sorts of data to improve the data collection. This is the fundamental plus point, whereby you create a leaderless, technologically-based society, which runs on a collective system or central coordination.
Be sure to also check out Charles Hoskinson’s video comments during the final part of the summit, just before signing the MoU:
This concludes day 2 & 3 of the FrontierFinTech Summit 2019 in Mongolia! We hope you enjoyed our reporting. Please leave your comments below!
To read the recap from Day 1 of the FrontierFinTech Summit, click here.