This week I’m in Dubai. And over the next four days I’m going to keep you updated about what’s happening at the world’s biggest Financial Services conference, SIBOS.
It’s ironic that this particular conference is happening in Dubai. It’s an interesting place for a global financial gathering. Of all the places that best signify everything that’s wrong with the global financial system, it’s here.
Even just getting the bus from the airport lets you see the state of this boom and bust city. On one hand there are these magnificent buildings. Skyscrapers made up of obtuse angles and shimmering glass.
They are architecturally compelling, but they are dotted about with no real thought. And further to that every second building has a ‘for lease’ sign on the side of it. The windows on closer inspection are all filthy, and the 40, 50, or 60 floors of prime real estate…are empty.
There are building sites which resemble piles of rubble. On one site we passed there were two men standing on top of concrete debris in 40-degree heat. They were simply spraying water on the heap.
Why? Who knows; it seemed pointless. But you could clearly see these workers were simply doing a job. They wouldn’t be getting paid much, but it more than likely helped feed their families. And when you really look you can see there are many more of these kinds of workers around Dubai than perhaps the UAE would like you to know.
And then there’s the flip side of the coin. Within a minute of checking in to the hotel, a bright red Ferrari California rolled up. The car alone is worth about $529,000, but the glistening diamond Rolex on the wrist of the UAE national was most likely worth as much.
After settling in I headed to the Dubai Mall. I was in need of some swimming shorts (necessary with average temperatures in the 40’s). And just walking around the mall I noticed two things.
One, every time I walked past Louis Vuitton, Channel, Rolex and IWC the shop was full. Two, the car park is full of Range Rovers, Mercedes, Ferraris and just about any car worth more than six figures.
You see there is still silly wealth here. It’s on a scale most of us will never really comprehend. And considering the enormous peak and crash that Dubai experienced through the GFC it’s unbelievable to see the reckless abandonment some people here have with money.
But enough of the cultural observations for now. I’m here to do a job. And that’s to get amongst the ins and outs of SIBOS.
I’ll be doing daily wraps, and a video summary of the event at the culmination of it all. But what is SIBOS and why am I here?
SIBOS is an annual conference, exhibition and networking event organised by SWIFT for the global financial industry. In just one-week, over 7,000 decision makers and experts from financial institutions, multinational corporations, and technology innovators gather in one place.
And it’s here they do business and collectively shape the future of payments, securities, cash management and trade. And one of the key themes from SIBOS 2013 is ‘The Future of Money’.
In the August issue of Revolutionary Tech Investor we explained that the future of money is changing. It’s changing at a rapid pace. The way in which we transact, manage and use our money is changing. Even the concept of money itself will be different than what it is today.
The future of money is an important theme for everyone to take note. It affects everything that we’ve come to know about the world of finance, banking and global economies.
Of course we have our own ideas as to what this might look like. But we also will be hearing from those in the finance and economics world about their vision of the future of money.
With a full diary for over the conference it’ll take too long to reel off all the presenters I’ll see. Some include, Patrick Murch (The Bitcoin Foundation), Rich Bolstridge (Chief Strategist, Akamai Technologies), Manu Sporny (CEO, Digital Bazaar) and Matthew Gordon (Forward Deployed Engineer, Palantir).
Already from the session descriptions, it’s clear to see the hot topic is how money will work in the digital future. There’s no doubt about it. And what I hope to uncover is exactly what that future might be and how it’s going to impact you.
It could all be leading towards a shift so dramatic that the very foundations of global banking come crumbling down…again. We might be on the edge of a new world order in financial systems.
It might mean that the avenue to financial freedom is about the code you control, the algorithms you use and the anonymity with which you store your digital wealth.
Whichever way the world economy pans out it’s events like SIBOS that will help to shape what it looks like. So check your inbox each day for what’s going on at SIBOS.
Technology Analyst, Revolutionary Tech Investor
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