How FinTech and digital currency unfolds global technology disruption
The term FinTech has been coined quite recently. However, this does not change the fact that Finance and technology have always been intertwined. Way back in 1866 the first transatlantic cable was laid, which then became the backbone for the globalization of finance. Next in 1918, the first electronic transfer of money was conducted using Morse code technology. In the 1950s, credit cards, another digital payment medium, was launched by American Express and Diners Club. This event can officially be called FinTech 1.0.
The actual beginning of modern FinTech effectively dates back to 1967 when the first ATM machine was used by Barclays in 1967 and the period was called FinTech 2.0. Owing to the development of technologies in communication and transaction, the world saw its first digital stock market, which marked the beginning of online financial markets. The advances didn’t stop there.
We witnessed complete digitalization of transactions and communication between people and financial institutions because of the development of computers and the internet in the ‘90s.
Currently, we are in FinTech 3.0 which began with the onset of global financial crisis in 2008. Roughly in 2008, Bitcoin along with other cryptocurrencies was introduced to the world of Finance and it will never be the same again. Up until a few years back, FinTech startups revolved around establishing technologies to make it easier for people to render traditional financial services. They developed products for people to interact and transact with banks, financial institutes, businesses by following the old-school rule book of finance.
Recently, with the increased use of smartphones to access the internet and use financial services and cryptocurrencies slowly making their way into mainstream finance, we can officially say we’ve stepped into the age of FinTech.
The preferred mode of payment has shifted from physical currencies to digital wallets like Google Wallet, Amazon Pay, and Apple Pay. Especially since the entire world was by its worst-ever pandemic: COVID-19.
We’ve even seen quite a drastic increase in the acceptance rate of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which is going to or already has started impacting the financial markets and systems and their functioning.
The main reasons behind the increasing acceptance of cryptocurrencies are their secured and decentralized nature, overarching innovations, a wide range of applications, and most importantly, their global availability. Their global availability overcomes the shortcomings of physical currencies like currency exchange and conversion.
Apart from the above reasons, the technology behind these digital currencies is quite revolutionizing in the sense that it will increase the ease, security, and speed at which transactions are carried out.
At this point, you must think this all sounds so attainable and beneficial then why isn’t there an easier for a normal joe like yourself to own and use cryptocurrencies for day-to-day transactions?
Well, first of all, the central banks around the world have quite a few reservations when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Their top reservation being the lack of central authority which is not required really as all the transactions are registered in a public ledger called Blockchain, which is quite literally the public record of all transactions and cryptocurrency holders. With that kind of transparency, there’s no need for a central authority to oversee or manage these currencies. If we were to express this bluntly, the central banks are afraid to lose the control they have over money and thereby on the global economy.
The Current Scenario: FinTech and Cryptocurrencies
Still, the idea of cryptocurrency is quite different for different people. For some, it’s just another investment opportunity and for others, it’s literally economic freedom. The shift towards cryptocurrency might be slow, but it’s going to disrupt the entire financial system once it reaches a tipping point.
So, if you don’t want to wait for the tipping point, join the early adopters, and ride the crypto train, then you need to start embracing digital currencies. We are a part of this huge global economy and we can’t let traditional and tedious ways to transact hold us back from realizing the true potential that financial globalization has to offer.
On the other hand, FinTech startups are trying to understand and at the same time, come up with realistic and hopefully, revolutionizing applications of crypto-based technologies. One such example is of Ternio. The co-founders of this FinTech startup called Ternio saw the limitations around the usage of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and addressed it by launching their digital currency debit card, BlockCard, which functions similar to a regular bank-issued debit card and can be used for daily transactions.
They combined the easy-to-use feature with the cost-effective and speedier cryptocurrencies and seamlessly integrated them into the financial system people are familiar with.
Will Digital Currency Takeover Physical Government-issued Currency?
Still, there are still many unknown and uncertain parts attached to the value and perception of digital currencies in the minds of people such as their price volatility, long-term value, and the factors affecting their valuation.
Even though digital currencies give us ease, better security, and speed, paper currency is still relevant and largely used all over the world. It’s not going anywhere, anytime soon since it’s one of the most recognizable ways of transacting all over the world. And more importantly, it will quite difficult to replace physical currency in rural areas and developing economies where the proper infrastructure required for digital currency is not set up.
While there might be some hiccups along the way during the transition from physical to digital currencies, there are high hopes for digital currencies as we seeing a major shift in the way people transact and manage their money. And the added advantage here is that many people see Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as appreciating assets, which increases the overall acceptance rate of digital currencies.
To Sum Up
The new technologies used in digital currencies like Bitcoin are going to redefine our financial habits, how we handle money, and maybe one day, our understanding of money itself. And since the big players of the financial industry like Standard Chartered, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Citi Bank, UBS, Banco Santander, and the likes have started embracing cryptocurrencies, you can count on such currencies to stay.
The sooner you stop holding yourself back, educate yourself on the topic and embrace it in your day-to-day transactions, the better it will be for your business and money.
Peter Davidson works as a senior business associate helping brands and start ups to make efficient business decisions and plan proper business strategies. He is a big gadget freak who loves to share his views on latest technologies and applications.