We got an opportunity at Activate London 2014 organized by the Guardian, to learn about emerging, game changing trends in the financial domain.
The core topic of discussion was around the changes happening in financial technology, their usage and behavior. The talks were divided in few major areas like money transfer, money creation/fund raising, social money and financial sharing.
The interesting fact about these upcoming money transfer technology startups was its end user oriented approach. Be it “Mobino”, which allows user to transfer money via mobile phone as easy as paying one by hand, or “TransferWise” a low cost international money transfer platform. The common point between them including “Nutmeg” a wealth management platform, “Stripe” an online payment company and other similar startups was their transparency, ease of use and a streamlined banking experience for their end users.
Money creation or fundraising is also evolving digitally where a more traditional way is to raise money for others online and alternative way is to raise money for oneself or a cause by using a platform. Platforms like “FundersClub”, “Fundrise”, “Crowdtilt” and “Funding circle” had amazing stories to share. It was interesting to learn that people are funding/giving loans for purposes like their local real state/infrastructure development, micro social causes, personal entertainment purposes and even for a product that is unknown to them.
Now comes the sharing part, startup likes “GirlsMeetsDresses”, “Uber”, “HouseTrip” and “Compare and share” though they claimed that they are catering to large demographics and making things accessible for more and more people, but in my opinion they are still servicing to rich and upper middleclass, which is ok, only their user category should not be mislead. Whereas platforms like “Liftshare” and “Taskhub” serve a social purpose along with its sharing benefits.
Bitcoin” which I found more as a speculative tool than a currency at present was open to many perspectives, and the most common view was about its being at very early stage to make any comment. Alex Klein, co-founder of “Kano” made a statement in context of Bitcoin, which I found very appropriate, was “Solution should not look for problems”.
Looking at these new evolving trends, it is certain that trading environment is going to adopt some of these sooner rather than later. It has already begun with mobile and web trading applications becoming more users centric. Lets say there could be a third party hosted shared trading platform in future for corporate users or wealth managers. Possibilities are immense, and we need to start thinking and working on it now.