The Finance Foundation
Reinventing capitalism for all
President of the Finance Foundation

Fintech: Is it the Big Brother or many little brothers?

Fintech is becoming a buzz word in America. Its influence grows by the day. Hundreds of thousand, if not millions of people of all ages, not only the young, are intrigued, explore and adopt. It invades all sectors of professional life. It dictates evil and revolt against institutions of all kinds, as well as formidable progress. Is it going to be the Big Brother? Not one, but multiple brothers because the development is phenomenal into all the avenues of our civilization. One Big Brother, as imagined by George Orwell, is not enough.

We shall see.

In the meantime, two British publications, the Economist and the Guardian, look into Fintech in supplements and long articles. The Economist supplement is on banking, but looks into many more sectors. Peer to peer lending, crowd funding, money management, foreign exchange, payments, blockchain i.e. bitcoin or private currencies. Reading through this supplement shows that we are really in the middle of a formidable revolution. It means the disintermediation of the bank and direct instantaneous contact and business between two individuals or a small company and an individual. It means the same syndrome for company setting everything or buying everything and their customers. In many cases they don’t go to the bank, or to the shop. They stay home and get what they want, be it merchandise or service. This, no doubt, means that many businesses will die. Hopefully many more will adapt and survive. The amount of money invested in those start-up little companies is staggering. 

The Guardian looks at Fintech from a different point of view, parallel to the other one, questioning Fintech and social good, such as fighting financial exclusion. Allowing isolate people in Africa an Asia or, why not, in America or Europe, to make transfers of money from their little telephone or a computer. The question is, of course, how to encourage a more socially oriented Fintech. 

The debate is only beginning. Time will go by before we know the answer to the Fintech intrusion into our lives. 

Those two presentations, the Economist and the Guardian ones, are worth reading. 



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