Financial Technology, or FinTech, first flourished during the Internet explosion in the early 2000s when e-commerce models were the rage. Today, it has evolved into the unbundling of existing services offered by traditional financial institutions and delivered sophisticatedly using specialised software and algorithms to businesses and consumers alike. Fintech startups for one, are designed to challenge, and have since been considered disruptive to, entrenched traditional financial services. For the way they provide more nimble services through automation often to an underserved market, Fintech companies are increasingly taking centre stage; In Singapore alone, the amount of equity funds raised by Fintech startups in the first quarter of 2021 amounted to about 46% of the total funding raised by startups in 2020. 

As financial “wokeness” is becoming popular, there are more benefits of being financially literate than knowing what’s cool. 

We’ve curated 4 TEDTalks on the topics of Fintech, the future of commerce post pandemic, and financial inclusion that you should watch.  

1. Kids creating the future bank 

Chris Skinner is known as the most influential person in technology in the UK and is an independent commentator on the financial markets and fintech, through his blog, as well as author of the bestselling books Digital Bank, ValueWeb and Digital Human. 

In just under 17 minutes, he talks about the disruptive financial technologies that Gen Ys and Gen Zs are creating with code. An example is John and Patrick Collison, 2 brothers from Ireland, who created Stripe when they were just 19 and 21 years old. Today, it is one of the biggest unicorns in the world; the Fintech was valued at US$9.2 billion in Oct 2016, which grew to $20 billion in 2018. “Not bad for a couple of kids”, in Chris’ words.

What world of finance do kids want, and how will the bankers of old, who are older, react? 

Read more similar content here: 4 Fintech Trends to watch out for in 2021 


2. What COVID-19 means for the future of commerce, capitalism, and cash 

Capitalism needs an upgrade, says PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, and it starts with paying people enough to actually invest in their futures. He discusses why companies need to cultivate trust to recover and rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic — and how we can use this defining moment to create a more inclusive, ethical economy.

In this virtual conversation hosted by TED business curator, Corey Hajim, and current affairs curator, Whitney Pennington Rodgers, Dan points out the cash and digital payments trends emerging out of the pandemic. He sees how they change the way Governments think about managing and moving money, ultimately highlighting the importance of digital currencies going forward. To him, there is no doubt that there is a real acceleration of the demise of cash and the real impetus for contactless payments is health reasons – People do not want to handle money, and digital payments will keep social distancing to protect the health of consumers. 

Read more similar content here: Weathering the COVID-19 storm with Fintech


3. Financial inclusion, the digital divide

Roughly two billion people worldwide don’t have access to banks or financial services like credit, insurance and investment — or even a way to formally prove their identity. How do we bridge this divide? Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga sits down with TED current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers to discuss how innovative public-private partnerships can help bring everyone into the digital economy — and why COVID-19 recovery hinges on financial inclusion.

On the pushback on technology, or lack thereof, creating a bigger digital divide in the world today, Ajay highlights that while QR codes need a smartphone, it comes with a string of numericals that can be entered into an old flip phone as well; the financial inclusion examples he cites do not depend on smartphones – the World Food Programme issues cards to refugees who can use them to redeem food only certified by the Programme, preventing leakage of dollars from aid agencies who rely on a middleman.

“It’s about using the technology that we do possess and applying that in a smart, commercially sustainable way to real world problems. If you have good technology, let’s do it even better. But let’s not use technology as an excuse to not do it,” he says. 

Read more similar content here: Partnerships: The secret behind Fintechs serving SMEs better


4. Fintech and the Future of Finance

Fintech is not a new concept, but its influence over how we manage our finances has accelerated tremendously in recent years. Professor Arman Eshraghi from Cardiff Business School explains why everyone (and not just finance professionals) should care about the growth and impact of Fintech.

In his 17-minute presentation, he invites our attention to the fact that the size of global investments in the Fintech space is, conservatively, US$ 40 billion, and more than 40 unicorns in the world (private companies valued at US$1 billion or more) are Fintech related. He further mentions young companies like Stripe, Wise, and Alipay, all of which have been established in the past decade or two, as grabbing market share like a tsunami. To this point he says, “If you don’t know how to ride a wave, better learn to swim.”

Read more similar content here: What is the Future of Finance for Medium-sized Enterprises?

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