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Fintech / Banking

 

McMatthiseCapital in invested in Fintech.

Financial technology (Fintech) is used to describe new tech that seeks to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services. ​​​At its core, fintech is utilized to help companies, business owners and consumers better manage their financial operations, processes, and lives by utilizing specialized software and algorithms that are used on computers and, increasingly, smartphones. Fintech, the word, is a combination of "financial technology".

When fintech emerged in the 21st Century, the term was initially applied to the technology employed at the back-end systems of established financial institutions. Since then, however, there has been a shift to more consumer-oriented services and therefore a more consumer-oriented definition. Fintech now includes different sectors and industries such as education, retail banking, fundraising and nonprofit, and investment management to name a few.

Fintech also includes the development and use of crypto-currencies such as bitcoin. That segment of fintech may see the most headlines, the big money still lies in the traditional global banking industry and its multi-trillion-dollar market capitalization.

Fintech Landscape

Fintech startups received $17.4 billion in funding in 2016 and were on pace to surpass that sum as of late 2017, according to CB Insights, which counted 26 fintech unicorns globally valued at $83.8 billion. The same firm reported that there were 39 VC-backed fintech unicorns worth $147.37 billion by the end of 2018.

North America produces most of the fintech startups, with Asia a relatively close second. Global fintech funding hit a new high in the first quarter of 2018 let by a significant uptick in deals in North America. Asia, which could surpass the United States in fintech deals, also saw a spike in activity. Funding activity in Europe was at a five-quarter low in Q1 2018 but surged back in Q2.

Some of the most active areas of fintech innovation include or revolve around the following areas:

          Cryptocurrency and digital cash.

          Blockchain technology, including Ethereum, a distributed ledger technology (DLT) that maintain records on a network of computers, but has no central ledger.

          Smart contracts, which utilize computer programs (often utilizing the blockchain) to automatically execute contracts between buyers and sellers.

          Open banking, a concept that leans on the blockchain and posits that third-parties should have access to bank data to build applications that create a connected network of financial institutions and third-party providers. An example is the all-in-one money management tool Mint.

          Insurtech, which seeks to use technology to simplify and streamline the insurance industry.

          Regtech, which seeks to help financial service firms meet industry compliance rules, especially those covering Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer protocols which fight fraud.

          Robo-advisors, such as Betterment, utilize algorithms to automate investment advice to lower its cost and increase accessibility.

          Unbanked/underbanked, services that seek to serve disadvantaged or low-income individuals who are ignored or underserved by traditional banks or mainstream financial services companies.

          Cybersecurity, given the proliferation of cybercrime and the decentralized storage of data, cybersecurity and fintech are intertwined.

Fintech Users

There are four broad categories of users for fintech: 1) B2B for banks and 2) their business clients, and 3) B2C for small businesses and 4) consumers. Trends toward mobile banking, increased information, data, and more accurate analytics and decentralization of access will create opportunities for all four groups to interact in heretofore unprecedented ways.

As for consumers, as with most technology, the younger you are the more likely it will be that you are aware of and can accurately describe what fintech is. The fact is that consumer-oriented fintech is mostly targeted toward millennials given the huge size and rising earning (and inheritance) potential of that much-talked-about segment. Some fintech watchers believe that this focus on millennials has more to do with the size of that marketplace than the ability and interest of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers in using fintech. Rather, fintech tends to offer little to older consumers because it fails to address their problems.

When it comes to businesses, before the advent and adoption of fintech, a business owner or startup would have gone to a bank to secure financing or startup capital. If they intended to accept credit card payments they would have to establish a relationship with a credit provider and even install infrastructure, such as a landline-connected card reader. Now, with mobile technology, those hurdles are a thing of the past.

Because of the diversity of offerings in fintech and the disparate industries it touches, it is difficult to formulate a single and comprehensive approach to these problems. For the most part, governments have used existing regulations and, in some cases, customized them to regulate fintech.

They have established fintech sandboxes to evaluate the implications of technology in the sector. The passing of General Data Protection Regulation, a framework for collecting and using personal data, in the EU is another attempt to limit the amount of personal data available to banks. Several countries where ICOs are popular, such as Japan and South Korea, have also taken the lead in developing regulations for such offerings to protect investors.

 

 

 

 

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