I developed the MTBIT FORUM in 2015 with the help of Andrew Ittleman, a Miami Attorney who represents companies and individuals in highly regulated sectors in the US and Greta Geankoplis, a fintech leader and industry trailblazer, both members of the IMTC Advisory Board. The forum was conceived as a chance for entrepreneurs, start-ups and project developers using blockchain-based protocols, for international money transfers, remittances & payments, to meet, network and share the challenges they face while at the same time discussing the realistic opportunities available in the industry.

Besides these entrepreneurs, other experts of the industry are invited to provide different perspectives and insights. Year 2015 was a challenge but we were able to do three forums, one in Las Vegas in March, one in Istanbul in May and one in Miami in November. We learned, discussed ideas, and sat down to plan 2016 were we came up with a plan to have five MTBIT Forums in the five IMTC Conferences this year, IMTC USA 2016 in Las Vegas in March, IMTC BRASIL in Sao Paulo in April, IMTC EMEA in Barcelona in May, IMTC ASIA in Delhi in September and our grand IMTC WORLD in Miami Beach in November.

I am very proud to announce that the agenda this time around in Las Vegas will have Luis Buenaventura from Bloom Solutions (Philippines, Hong Kong Korea), Fab Rodriguez & Alex Karis from DigitalX/AirPocket, Scott Bambacigno & Joe Ventura from Alphapoint, Eric Rosenthal from Abra, Neil Reiter from IdentityMind and attorney Marco Santori from Pillsbury, all of them speaking at the MTBIT Forum on March 14th.

Fernando Gutierrez from Uniteller, part of the Banorte group, Albert Srour from Xpress Money and Juan Maldonado from Regalii, from two large international money transfer institutions and one international bill payment company, will be part of the industry panel that will be listening attentively throughout the day and in a session at the end of the Forum provide feedback, probe the business plans, suggest ideas, explore options, etc. Both Andrew and Greta will also take the stand, contributing with their profound knowledge and their unparalleled experience and moderating the Q&A session that brings the Forum to a close.

All MTBIT FORUM participants will walk away with valuable information and deep appreciation of this promising sector, knowledge that would take months, even years, to acquire.I think this is the best I can do to bring new ideas into the international money transfer & payments industry and bridge the fintech divide that many industries face.

Note: Luis Buenaventura wrote this past October a very interesting article entitled: “Bitcoin Doesn’t Make Remittances Cheaper” that must be read to understand the meeting point between Bitcoin & Remittances and how Luis sees the future playing out after his own analysis of his experience trying to solve the remittance puzzle. Luis used this article in his presentation at IMTC WORLD 2015 in November in Miami.

Luis has learned that “the First and Last Miles Are Where All the Costs Are” , that “Bitcoin Makes Starting a Remittance Business Cheaper” and  last but not least, that “You Can’t Make Remittances Cheaper without Changing the Last Mile” . The last paragraph is worth to quote it completely:

The perfect solution appears to be a hybrid between the current Bitcoin remittance startups and the ubiquitous mobile-money network that currently exists only in our dreams. If we can use Bitcoin to replace SWIFT during the international part of the journey, and employ the local mobile money network as our domestic transport, then we’ve really got something. Until then, associating Bitcoin so directly with cheaper remittances is perhaps missing the point: the cryptocurrency has illuminated an even larger problem that it simply cannot solve on its own.