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Now that we’ve had a little more than a month to decompress from our time in Montauk for Brainstorm Finance, we’ve been reflecting on everything we learned and culling the key trends that emerged from our discussions with top executives.

Here are a few of the most salient predictions and themes we gleaned:

1. Facebook may struggle to launch its Libra Cryptocurrency

As Facebook announced its Project Libra the day before Brainstorm Finance kicked off, naturally it was the talk of the conference. But one persistent theme tempered attendees’ optimism: Skepticism that the cryptocurrency could actually get off the ground. “Libra is a very exciting moment when it launches—certainly the question is if and when it’ll launch,” Barry Silbert, the CEO of Digital Currency Group, told Fortune on the sidelines of the conference.

Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle, pointed to regulatory hurdles and other complexities involved with creating a stablecoin backed by not just one fiat currency, but a basket of various nations’ monetary notes. “I think that’s something that both individuals, businesses and governments will have to ultimately get comfortable with, so it’ll be interesting to see if Libra is able to launch and how that’s perceived,” Allaire told Fortune in a separate interview.

2. Big banks aren’t really all that screwed

Adam Dell, who sold his company Clarity Money to Goldman Sachs’s consumer bank Marcus and now serves as its head of product, made some headlines with his pithy comments at Brainstorm Finance: “There are only two kinds of banks— there are banks that are screwed, and banks that don’t know they are screwed,” he said.

But his employer, Goldman Sachs, didn’t seem to fall into either category, nor did the other big banks that were represented by their CEOs at the conference, with their vast global scale and trillions of dollars in assets. (Compare that to fintech startups and challenger banks, where even the leading companies have yet to amass more than a few billion each.) Fortune executive editor Adam Lashinsky put Dell’s comments directly to Citi CEO Michael Corbat, who responded, “You’re screwed if you’re in denial. and I would say as an institution we’re absolutely not in denial.” Citi would be “dead” if it stuck to the status quo, he added, “But we’re a 200-year-old institution that’s reimagined itself several times, and we are very much in that process today.” Corbat also described himself as a “true believer” in blockchain technology.

Bank of America, whose CEO Brian Moynihan opened the conference, also offered a telling statistic to illustrate why his company wouldn’t be left behind: “We have more blockchain patents I think than anybody else does now,” he said.

3. Amazon could come for banks

As my colleague Jeff Roberts put it on this show, “Amazon has all the ingredients to be a bank.” One main ingredient: Its close relationship with customers. Added Robert Hackett, “If you look at some of the consumer sentiment, people like Amazon way more than they like their banks.”

At the conference, though, Patrick Gauthier, vice president of Amazon Pay, threw cold water on the idea: “The fact that we can build something doesn’t mean that we should,” he said. Still, he didn’t entirely rule out a banking foray sometime further off in the future—nor did he scoff at the idea that Amazon could very well build a bank if it wanted to.

The following day, Citi’s Corbat was asked whether he feared that Amazon or another big tech company would build a competing digital bank. “It’s a question we get asked frequently,” Corbat acknowledged. “I don’t know their ambition or intentions per se, but what I would say is, we don’t take anything for granted and we’re not dismissive. We’re not dismissive of Amazon, I'm sure we’ll get to Facebook—anybody who’s got a couple billion users, I think you need to pay attention to.” It’s clear the big banks aren’t writing off Amazon as a potential competitor one day.

4. Millennials’ net worths are bulging

For years, the popular narrative around the millennial generation has been that their heavy student debt burdens and the fact that many of them graduated during or around the Great Recession would condemn them to a dimmer financial outlook than prior generations. At Bank of America’s last count, in 2018, only 16% of millennials had saved at least $100,000.

At Brainstorm Finance, though, executives painted a different picture of millennials. “They’re not all sitting in their basements smoking weed all the time,” said Andy Rachleff, the CEO of Wealthfront, a robo-advisor whose customers are primarily millennials. And, he added, “They’re in the wealth accumulation phase of their lives.”

Walt Bettinger, the CEO of Charles Schwab, meanwhile, said that hundreds of thousands of millennials are now flocking to the brokerage annually, and make up more than half (53%) of Schwab’s new accounts. Their average net worth? $350,000 in household assets, Bettinger added. “So the average millennial we’re winning has that level of affluence today already.”



1. Facebook的Libra加密货币可能会难产

Facebook在金融头脑风暴大会举办的前一天宣布了Libra项目,自然而然地也就成为了大会的一个焦点。但一个反复出现的怀疑论断给参与者的乐观主义浇了一盆冷水:这款加密货币真能和世人见面吗?Digital Group的首席执行官巴瑞·斯尔伯特在会场外向《财富》杂志透露:“发行Libra是一个令人振奋的事情,然而问题在于,它是否以及在什么时候发行?”


2. 大银行的境况没有那么糟糕

将自家公司Clarity Money销售给高盛消费银行Marcus的亚当·戴尔如今担任Marcus的产品负责人,他以其在金融头脑风暴会议上的精辟言论获得了不少关注。他说:“现在仅存在两类银行:一种是已经搞砸的银行,一种是并不知道自己已经搞砸了的银行。”



3. 亚马逊可能会进军银行业


然而在大会上,Amazon Pay的副总裁帕特里克·高迪耶给这个观点浇了盆冷水:“我们有能力打造某项业务的事实并不代表我们就应该去做这件事情。”然而,他并没有完全否定亚马逊在遥远未来的某个时间进军银行业的可能性,也没有嘲笑“亚马逊只要自己愿意就可以组建银行”的这个理念。


4. 千禧一代的净值正在膨胀


然而在金融头脑风暴大会上,高管们则描述了一个不一样的千禧一代。Wealthfront的首席执行官安迪·拉什勒夫说:“他们并非一直都待在地下室吞云吐雾。”然后他补充说:“他们正处于其人生的财富积累阶段。” Wealthfront是一家智能投资咨询公司,其客户主要是千禧一代。






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  2. Libra面临哪些挑战?中本聪会怎么看?
  3. 全球最古老的银行如何迈向数字化未来