Iran has become the latest country to join the FinTech revolution, as it looks set to host its first digital finance conference.
Sana Pardakht, an Iranian holding company, has entered into a partnership with the Digital Finance Institute (DFI), a Canadian not-for-profit organisation that aims to bring financial inclusion to nations around the globe. The Institute launched the first refugee banking project in the world in 2014 to provide banking solutions to refugees.
This agreement marks the first collaboration between DFI and an Iranian firm since the historic nuclear accord was signed in July of this year, marking a momentous agreement between Iran and Western powers.
Both groups will meet on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf, one of the few areas on the planet which is currently Visa-free. On the agenda will be the role of innovation labs to drive technology, banking and finance, Bitcoin, smart cities and renewable energy.
The conference will also discuss the future of Iran’s financial sector, including its emergence as a finance hub post-sanctions, business opportunities in Iran and the growing importance of social banking. The Digital Finance Institution will also embark on a case study which looks to find out how the payment sector can help solve the nation’s refugee crisis.
‘‘The time was right for a Conference on FinTech and innovation for Iran,’’ explained Majeed Javdani, chairman of Sana Pardakht.
‘‘Iran has a young and well-educated population of 75 million people who live in an increasingly connected world where online commerce and FinTech will play a vital role in the growth of our economy in the next few years.’’
‘‘The conference will act as a catalyst to start building the FinTech and innovation ecosystem in Iran in partnership with companies from other nations.’’
‘‘We are very pleased to be partnering with Canada’s Digital Finance Institute for region’s 1st Conference on FinTech, Innovation and International Trade and to a long and rewarding relationship with the Institution on many projects,” continued Javdani.
Iran can become a ‘fintech powerhouse’
Christine Duhaime, founder and executive director of the Digital Finance Institute, commented on the announcement stating that Iran has huge potential to become a financial hub, as well as an international fintech powerhouse.
‘‘Partnering with Iran’s Sana Pardakht to support the growth of Iran’s FinTech, banking and payments sector provides parallel opportunities for Canada and other countries interested in doing business in Iran and we are pleased to lend our expertise to this ground-breaking event,’’ said Duhaime.
‘‘Fostering a supportive environment for entrepreneurs, innovators and financiers is critical to driving investment and at the Institute, that is part of what we do.’’
A number of financial institutions have tried to create financial inclusion in underserved countries. In January, MasterCard opted to lift a block on US bank card transactions in Cuba after the States relaxed restrictions on trade and travel with the Caribbean nation.
The card processor still blocks a number of countries from using its services, including Sudan, Syria and Iran. With this latest development, maybe one day Iran will be able to accept multiple different payment platforms.
The Emerging Payments Association discuss the impact of Brexit on the fintech industry at the latest payments industry event.
Blockchain is going to be big. We know. Just like sessions at the subject at most other conferences we’ve been to recently, the blockchain panels and speakers at this year’s Tech Open Air conference in Berlin were packed to bursting.
If you think innovation in consumer cross border payments has been big, just wait for the business-to-business (B2B) side of the equation. Speaking at Money 20/20 Europe as part of The Bancorp’s Finetics™ Studio interview series, CEO Mike Laven talks about what’s next for cross-border payments.
Balancing the need for regulation with allowing innovative ideas to flourish is tough, and nowhere more so than in finance. That’s precisely why the UK’s progressive approach to regulating fintech companies stands out in Europe and the wider world.