Facebook’s consortium project, Libra, has the potential to disrupt traditional business models in retail banking, payments, and retail asset management (in addition to regulatory and monetary policy). While there are many variables that will impact how this will all play out and there are significant technology, privacy, regulatory, and security concerns that could stop this project in its tracks, a meaningful new front has opened up in the evolution of western financial services that warrants discussion.
The Next Wave Of Fintech Will Be A Tsunami vs The First Fintech Wave
(Editorial Note: This is a high-level, big picture post that might not be suitable for hardened financial technology geeks. Don’t worry, we’ll have more for you in subsequent posts.)
It used to be that financial services intermediaries were to a large extent immune to outside innovation. While entire industries have been obliterated or reimaged over the last 30 years by waves of technological innovation (think retail, entertainment, or travel), financial services has remained relatively unscathed. Yes, electronic exchanges have replaced physical trading pits, online brokers and ETFs have replaced stock brokers, and cards have largely replaced paper checks. But even today, despite the hype around fintech, the core systems, operations, and players (outside of payments) remain fundamentally the same. We do not believe this will be the case a decade from today.