Part 4: New Approaches to Infrastructure

Martin Walker

2014 has been identified by various sources11 See “The Fintech Revolution”, The Economist, May 9, 2015 (http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21650546-wave-startups-changing-financefor-better-fintech-revolution); and M. Dietz, S. Khanna, T. Olanrewaju and K. Rajgopal, McKinsey, February 2016 (http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/cutting-through-the-noisearound-financial-technology). as the year that investment in “fintech” started to boom, with venture capital investment reaching US$12 billion. Once again turning to our old friend “the problem of definition”, continual talk and hype (of even the most unlikely ideas) leads to progressively more confusion regarding what people are talking or writing about.

Many promises have been made about the revolutionary change of fintech, but the range of meanings casually used for the term can be baffling. Fintech can mean the start-ups that threaten to disintermediate existing banks and the financial sector – hence the “threat of fintech to banking”, as well as the start-ups that create new products (often based on a similar set of technologies) for the banks – ie, “non-threatening fintech”. Fintech can also

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