Fintech 2017-Three to Watch

The financial services industry has always been subject to the advance of technology, more so than most verticals. New advances have often led to completely new workflows and processes, with established systems and processes quickly being replaced to take advantage of new technology. 2017 looks as though it will continue this trend with the internet and digital activity having more influence than ever.

Bitcoin Goes Mainstream

Talk amongst the Fintech community in recent years has inevitably included lots of heated debate about the current state and the future of Bitcoin. For followers and advocates of Bitcoin it’s been an incredible few years with the new currency format going from a much-maligned idea to one of the great internet success stories. It wasn’t long ago that Bitcoin was closely associated with the darkest and often illegal areas of the internet. However, after a short time it’s gone from the plaything of early adopters to a legitimate way for retailers to handle transactions.

2017 will see the continuing growth of Bitcoin activity as more and more new online businesses feature it alongside the more recognisable payment gateways. This will also influence existing, established businesses to look at the format more seriously. Analysts are already predicting that 2017 will be the format’s most successful year with some analysts saying the price will exceed $1,000 and remain at that level for much of the year.  

Fintech Growth

One of the themes of entrepreneurial and internet start-ups in recent years has been ‘digital disruption’, where established ways of working or doing business have been challenged and, in some cases, completely changed, due to technology. The Fintech sector has benefitted in recent years from a wave of investment driven largely by the desire to be part of this trend, and this investment has led to the emergence of businesses like Uber and Alibaba. In 2017 this trend will continue with Fintech venture capital investment in China, India, Latin America and Africa set to double that of the west. With the technology now in place to support Fintech start-ups in developing countries, and therefore none of the technology constraints that the west has had to deal with at the same stage, growth is excepted to be quick and significant. This will not go unnoticed by established financial institutions who will also add to the pace of growth through partnership deals.

"Banks need FinTech and FinTech need banks" - Hugues Delcourt, CEO, BilBanque Internationale à Luxembourg

The Continuing Influence of Mobile

For several years, Google has been talking about the impact mobile technology will have on everything. Some of it very simple, like being able to communicate with more people across the world, some of it more sophisticated, like the correlation between mobile phone uptake and social development indicators in developing countries. The impact of mobile technology on Fintech in 2017 will be seen in the growth in apps designed to make investing and trading easier. An emerging generation of professionals who are used to using apps for almost every aspect of business, want to access data and analysis quickly while they are on the go. More Fintech apps will come online during the year, with sophisticated capabilities matching previous desktop software, and in some case surpassing it. This will not only empower existing industry workers but it will also open trading and investment to a wider audience on a huge scale resulting in significant opportunities for revenue growth.

Even after such an eventful year as 2016; Brexit, the US election, conflict in The Middle East, it appears that 2017 will be another good year for the Fintech sector. The roll out of new technology in existing and emerging areas will lead to growth while partnerships between traditional financial institutions and new Fintech start-ups will lead to new revenue opportunities.

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