What is the future of finance?
We all know software is eating the world, and that fintech companies are starting to challenge traditional banks in many ways. But what is the endgame? How will consumer financial products and the ‘banks’ of the future look?
We believe that new breakthroughs in technology and a much higher bar for customer experience will drive his future. It will look something like this:
Free and fast
Using money will be free (or cheap), and much quicker than today: essentially a frictionless way to transact, similar to how information is shared on the internet. In our view, Bitcoin provides the world with the best existing technology to achieve this outcome. Bitcoin could serve as a currency in itself, or as an underlying clearing mechanism.
Decentralised and universal
Successful financial platforms are likely to be decentralised and allow for permissionless innovation, which will also make it more universally accessible. Whether you’re a wealthy New Yorker or an unbanked villager, everyone will have access to the same platforms. Another reason we like Bitcoin.
Financial experiences will be both personalised and contextual: everyone will not see or use their products in the same way. Products will provide relevant and situational content and functionality using geolocation, third-party APIs etc.
When you’re in the store about to pay for your goods your experience will be different to when you’re at home investing your retirement money.
Financial products will be aggregated. There is currently a popular trend of disaggregation of financial services with many fintech companies eating into specific bank product offerings. For example, peer to peer lending or remittances. We believe this is temporary market anomaly and a function of existing players not being able to compete fast enough on all fronts.
The next generation of financial products and services will be built from the ground up and provide aggregated access to the best solutions, whether proprietary or integrated from other service providers. People will naturally choose to have all their financial needs met in one place, both because of trust and a matter of convenience.
Products and platforms will be intelligent: this can mean a lot of different things, but in essence, products will learn and improve relevance in real-time according to the user’s behaviours and needs. It will also choose optimal transactions paths.
For example, if I regularly remit money, I will be prompted to send to the same person at the same time of the month. If I do, the product will make sure it’s sent in the cheapest and/or fastest way possible. It might be sent using Bitcoin or another way. But as a user I will trust that the execution is optimal.
Having a phenomenal user experience will not be a nice to have, it will be a critical part of service delivery. UI/UX design will become a major part of any product’s value proposition.
When will this future of finance arrive? Faster than most people think. And the Luno team are working hard on making sure that happens.