Vancouver’s Digital Finance Conference to spotlight future of women in financial technology

Digital Finance Institute presenting event on June 3

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      Lawyer Christine Duhaime says it’s important that women play a significant role in the financial technology industry.

      “Financial technology is going to revolutionize the banking industry,” Duhaime told the Georgia Straight over coffee in downtown Vancouver. “It’s really important to encourage women to be involved in tech, and then fintech especially—we’re 50 percent of the equation—so that we’re not left out at the table in terms of where that technology goes, what the future looks like.”

      Duhaime is cofounder and executive director of the Digital Finance Institute, which is set to hold its inaugural Digital Finance Conference in Vancouver on June 3. Tickets for the event at the Vancouver Club are $75.

      During what is likely Canada’s first financial technology conference, according to Duhaime, the DFI, Innotribe, and Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group will release a ground-breaking white paper on “power women in fintech”. (Financial inclusion is the focus of one of the DFI’s three initiatives; the others involve innovation and transparency.)

      The white paper will profile 15 female leaders in the industry. Duhaime noted the paper will also cover the positive and negative aspects, for women, of working in fintech.

      “It’s a snapshot of what the industry is like at the moment for women and what the future might look like,” Duhaime said.

      The conference’s keynote speakers are Peter Vander Auwera, cofounder of Innotribe at SWIFT, and Sam Maule, leader of the emerging payments practice at Carlisle & Gallagher and chief inspirational officer at the DFI.

      Other speakers include Inspector Calvin Chrustie of the RCMP, Dan Lambert of FINTRAC, Payfirma CEO Michael Gokturk, Payso COO Nat Cartwright, and Digital Currency Council vice president Sarah Martin.

      Bitcoin startups will be interested in the Hot Issues in Anti-Money Laundering and Disrupting the Banking Sector With Digital Currencies panels. Duhaime, who specializes in financial regulation, is actually writing a book about digital currencies and the law.

      “I think digital currencies will stay,” Duhaime said. “Bitcoin maybe will go. The blockchain will stay.”

      Christine Duhaime is organizing the Digital Finance Conference.

      Duhaime noted there’s room for 100 people at the conference. The DFI plans to make it an annual affair.

      According to Duhaime, Maule’s closing keynote will look at how fintech is a “game changer” for financial services. She mentioned that fintech could solve a problem faced by nongovernmental organizations sending money to refugee camps around the world—a significant portion of the cash is lost to “leakage” such as bribery.

      “We are working with a bunch of NGOs out of the United States and U.K. to try to find a more secure digital payment method for refugee camps,” Duhaime said.