The emergence of blockchain technology and the size of the FinTech industry were the major points of discussion at a recently concluded CBI Insights and KPMG webinar on the future of FinTech.
Blockchain is a data structure that creates a digital ledger of transactions. Using cryptography, blockchain allows participants to securely manipulate the ledger without any central authority. Once the information is entered, it is almost impossible to erase – creating an accurate record of the transaction’s history.
The technology is still in its infancy and currently undergoing significant experimentation. For established financial institutions such as banks, blockchain is seen as a possible solution to the problem of an increasingly complex regulatory landscape. The technology is also seen as an effective tool in combatting money laundering as it tracks a transaction’s entire digital history.
Venture capital investment in blockchain, which had seen a rapid rise over the last several years, is showing signs of plateauing as the technology matures. However, the boom in FinTech investment is expected to continue unabated as companies emerge from their infancy and the adoption of their technology becomes more widespread. In 2015, investments into FinTech were US$14 billion, with major banks such as J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs as primary investors. In the UK, Funding Circle, Atom Bank and World Remit each received in excess of US$100 million in funding in 2015. There are now 19 FinTech companies with a market capitalisation in excess of US$1 billion.