Financial technology or Fintech is a trend that combines financial services and technology to help people and businesses manage financing and payments. The movement is driven by users’ demands for convenience, inclusion, and sustainability which may outcompete the brick-and-mortar financial institutions.
Financial technology, also abbreviated as fintech, is the technology and innovation that seeks to improve and automate the traditional financial methods in the delivery of financial services. Fintech is implemented to aid companies, business owners, or individuals and to better manage their financial processes and operations by using software, AI, or algorithmic technologies.
Due to its ability to improve financial activities and performances, fintech has become an emerging industry and has gained a lot of traction. Fintech has a wide variety of applications, such as mobile banking, insurance, cryptocurrency, and investment apps. The industry shows a lot of potential and is expected to continue growing for years to come. Many fintech companies or unicorns are backed by venture capital (VCs) because of the future opportunities in the industry. Traditional banks are supporters and adopters of the technology and actively invest, acquire, or partner with fintech companies so that they can stay relevant within the digital age.
Fintech adoption rate increased rapidly from 16% in 2015 to 64% in 2019 according to Global Fintech Adoption Index 2019. The increase can be attributed to fintech’s ability to be more dynamic than traditional financial institutions. The adoption rate becomes massively increased and more essential in 2020 due to the demand for digital payments and contactless technology amidst the pandemic. The future adoption of fintech will continue to be driven by the convenience aspect, inclusion, and sustainability.
Blockchain is a collection of information that is structured in a way that holds sets of information data. The block of data is latched onto the previously filled block, creating a chain of data known as the “blockchain.” Each block may contain information such as a timestamp and transaction data. All new information that follows that freshly added block is compiled into a newly formed block that will then also be added next. This process makes blockchain resistant to modification of the data once recorded.
Blockchain has a couple of applications and is especially a rapid trend in financial services. It also has three main unique characteristics: decentralization, transparency, and security. This makes blockchain a building block for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. For the most part, blockchain is used in monetary transactions, however, blockchain can also be a reliable way of storing data about other types of transactions as well. Many companies have already established blockchain applications including Pfizer, AIG, Walmart, Siemens, Unilever, and IBM.
A cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is secured by cryptography. Using blockchain as the building block, cryptocurrency is binary data designed to work as a medium of exchange where individual transactions are recorded and stored in a ledger computerized database. The process allows secure transaction records, control of the additional coins resources, and ownership verification. A distinguishing feature of cryptocurrencies is that they are generally not generated by any central authorities, making them exempt from government interference and manipulation.
Cryptocurrency has gained criticism for a number of reasons, but one is due to its fluctuation rate compared to other currencies. Another disadvantage is the potential illegal financial activities within the transaction. Nevertheless, it also has potential advantages such as ease of transaction and the security system, which help against inflation.
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