If I were asked what was the most important business development in 2017, I’d have to say it was the rise of Fintech. It is not exaggerating to say that it has become a mania of sorts in 2017 with everyone from small retailers to big corporations looking at ways to incorporate some aspect of Fintech into their operations. It has also pulled in a swathe of investors and entrepreneurs, who are excited about it, and I am one of them.
When reviewing the companies that have adopted Fintech platforms, it is striking to note their diversity. For example, Air Asia Group is planning to launch a Fintech platform, which will help smooth the in-flight purchases and transactions. This will offer their 60 million customers banking and financial services as well.
Naturally Amazon is among the early adopters, given its prominence in the e-commerce marketplace. The company announced a Fintech lending platform, it has given out $1 billion in small loans. And, it has already launched Amazon Go and Amazon Pay, which enables people to checkout faster on its website.
There are also rumours that Whatsapp Messenger will introduce a Fintech platform. This has already happened in India, where Hike, a similar messenger service has introduced a payments platform and peer-to-peer and banking options that are enabled by the government’s UPI system.
In Spain, Spanish banks, along with certain Spanish telecommunication companies, have come together to establish a national network based on blockchain. The consortium is called Alastria and it will serve as a new data exchange ecosystem for the Spanish banking, energy and telecommunication industry. Some of the banking members of the consortium include Banca March, Banco Sabadell, Banco Santander, Bankia, and BBVA, among others.
And then there is the growth in new Fintech platforms. For example, Metromile, a Fintech startup that raised $200 million in a series of funding rounds, offers an insurance product for low-mileage drivers. Insurance investors say Metromile has become an important proof point for the industry’s hottest topic: measuring observable behavior in order to get more granular about risk. It has also led to people talking about the future of ‘insurtech’.
The list of innovations in different sectors just keeps growing; from paying for pizzas to buying concert tickets and from personal loan facilities to international banking there seems to be no end to the uses that Fintech platforms and blockchain can be put to. The enthusiasm seems enormous, but we must remember that it has only just begun. Will we see a ‘Fintech Rush’ build even more momentum over the next few months? I believe we will and whilst some concepts may not survive for long, there will be many that will soon be a part of our daily lives.