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Fintech pioneer, blockchain innovation highlight BlockSpaces event at Embarc Collective

Margie Manning



Matteo Rizzi, entrepreneur, investor and author, will keynote the Feb. 20 event.

Matteo Rizzi was leading the way in financial technology before the term fintech was in use.

He will bring his insights into financial service disruption to Tampa next month, when he keynotes a program organized by BlockSpaces, a blockchain technology development studio.

Gabe Higgins and Rosa Shores, co-founders, BlockSpaces

The Feb. 20 event, “Talents, Rebels & Disruptive Innovation: An Evening with the Fintech Revolution,” will be held at BlockSpaces’ new location, Embarc Collective, in downtown Tampa.

The event is being held on the same day and place as the previously scheduled #Pay conference. BlockSpaces, co-founded by local blockchain veterans Gabe Higgins and Rosa Shores, stepped in after #Pay organizers cancelled its conference.

Blockchain is a digital information storage system. It’s the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and also can be used to monitor supply chains and track retail loyalty rewards programs, among other things.

“We see blockchain as a key technology driver for the advancement of fintech over the next decade, and we are excited to shine a spotlight on what is happening locally as we see both national and international interest increasing to this region. We intend to leverage every contact and every opportunity we have to put Tampa Bay front and center,” Shores said in a news release announcing the event.

Rizzi, an entrepreneur, investor and author, has more than 20 years of experience in technology and financial services.

“2020 marks the cap of a decade of FinTech,” Rizzi said in the news release.  “I have been privileged to follow its course from the beginning, where today’s unicorns were still early stage pioneers and visionaries. At the end of the day, behind every tectonic shift like this one there are incredible talents and thinkers, some of them following the entrepreneur path, some others within their corporate journey. The next financial services journey will need space for these disruptors, accepting the fact incremental innovation will no longer suffice. The time has come for the rebels to be embraced as an asset to the industry, instead of odd ones to tolerate.”

Fintech Stage, a platform created by Rizzi for investors, innovators and startups to foster fintech innovation globally, is partnering with BlockSpaces on the event. So is MasterMinds Tampa, a group of founders and marketers.

In addition to Rizzi’s keynote, other presenters will include:

• Members of the Florida Blockchain Task Force, established by the Florida Department of Financial Services to research blockchain. They’ll also provide an overview of House Bill 1391, which proposes a Florida fintech regulatory “sandbox” for innovative companies.

• MasterMinds Tampa will host a fireside chat to cover the current Florida landscape of investment and capital for technology startups. It will feature Andreas Calabrese, former VC and managing director at Zetta Amperstand, and Shane Smith, director of Central Florida for the Jim Moran Institute of Entrepreneurship.

• Bobby Tinsley, executive vice president and co-founder, SKUXchange, a St. Petersburg company that uses blockchain technology to eliminate fraud and create more transparency and faster payments for businesses that deal with promotional offers.

General admission tickets for the event cost $20, with a handful of VIP tickets priced at $50. VIP ticket-holders will get to meet and greet with Rizzi, receive a signed copy of his new book Talents & Rebels: Dealing with Corporate Misfits, and attend a 30-minute blockchain for business, industry-specific strategy session from the BlockSpaces team, by appointment.

Tickets are available here.

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