FinTech Startup Fluent Recaps on Distributed Trade 2016 Conference

Finance Magnates speaks with Fluent's co-founder after its recent fintech event.

Together with Thomson Reuters, SixThirty, and BTC Media, Fluent recently hosted and sponsored a Blockchain conference called Distributed Trade 2016, focusing on optimizing trade and financial networks, at Washington University in Missouri.

The event drew over 400 attendees and had 38 speakers presenting their views on how blockchain-related technologies will affect capital markets including financial services, payment settlements, and supply chain management.

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While fintech has become a profoundly relevant topic for numerous finance-related industries including at Finance Magnates’ conferences, and with our fintech-dedicated TLV event taking place tomorrow in Tel-Aviv,  blockchain and distributed ledger technologies have emerged as a key segment within fintech.

Supply chain finance

Finance Magnates recently wrote about Fluent after it was selected as the Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) for fintech accelerator Startupbootcamp in New York in April, and subsequently when the company raised a seed round of $1.65 million from a group of investors in May.

The Distributed Trade conference was divided into supply-chain finance and financial services, and some of the participants included Jeff Garzik, Bitcoin Core Developer and co-founder of Bloq, Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of the Hyperledger Project, and Gurvinder Ahluwalia, CTO of Cloud Technical Solutions at IBM.

There were also prominent corporate sponsors for Distributed Trade 2016, including State Farm, EY, and Thomson Reuters, among other supporters of the event which took place on June 14th.


Participation from incumbent financial services and large enterprises is not only welcome in the startup community – it is already contributing to real-world success within the blockchain space.


Fluent’s co-founder comments

Casey Lawlor Source: LinkedIn
Casey Lawlor
Source: LinkedIn

In recent weeks a major hack took place of the DAO network which uses Ethereum, prompting additional concerns by industry participants over cyber-security related threats to distributed ledgers including blockchains that facilitate cryptocurrency circulation.

In response to related questions posed by Finance Magnates, Casey Lawlor, Fluent’s co-founder and director of marketing, explained: “The DAO hack was unfortunate but quickly taught an important lesson being extra diligent when rolling out new fintech solutions, especially in a public chain environment, that hopefully helps the industry in the long run.”

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Mr. Lawlor added regarding his key takeaway’s from the Distributed Trade 2016 event: “Participation from incumbent financial services and large enterprises is not only welcome in the startup community – it is already contributing to real-world success within the blockchain space.”

He added: “These relationships will build a foundation for the future of trade which we – and many others – believe will be built on blockchain technology”

Fintech hackathon

While hacking is typically associated with unauthorized breaches, one sort of hack that is positive is a ‘Hackathon’ which took place ahead of the event for a $25k prize.

48-hours before the Distributed Trade conference took place, developers competed at the TREx co-working space in downtown St. Louis, where teams partook in a number of challenges while participating in a collaborative manner to try to innovate quickly and hack ideas.

These challenges during the Hackathon included building government complaint digital identity tools (DIID), creating smart contract applications on the Ethereum platform, and eliminating the black market blood trade (Bloodchain), as explained in an update from Fluent.

Pre-conference Hackathon during Distributed Trade 2016 Source: Fluent
Pre-conference Hackathon during Distributed Trade 2016
Source: Fluent

Rideshare investing

BotVest was an interesting innovation that came out of the Hackathon, as a result of Fluent and Thomson Reuters teams joining together, built on the Ethereum platform and bringing the concept of investing in ridesharing to a new level.

The BotVest service allows users to buy shares in autonomous taxi or Uber vehicles and send out dividends after each successful ride, proposedly.

An update from Fluent explained that patrons pay in cryptocurrency for their cab ride, and the vehicles retain value in reserve to pay for gas and repairs, while excess funds are released to shareholders, as part of the BotVest idea.

Moreover, the novel idea includes the ability for vehicles to self-recycle when they can no longer be used, and prorates the resell value to each investor. Such a fintech inspired investment product would also bring individuals the ability to invest locally with related participating cabs in their community. While BotVest was just created for fun during the hackathon, according to Mr. Lawlor such innovations appear inevitable.



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