Technology and finance are ever-evolving, that’s no secret. So much so that the term fintech has soared in popularity over the past five years. I highly recommend The Payments Association’s report on the history and future of fintech. As highlighted in the report, the real buzzwords of the fintech world for today and beyond are “blockchain” and “artificial intelligence”.
I would argue that where blockchain was fintech’s “hot girl” of 2021 and 2022, A.I (artificial intelligence) is its “hot girl” of 2023, and for good reason. Predictive learning models promise to remake not just financial infrastructure but large parts of our society and culture too. In a survey of how A.I. is changing finance, Fortune’s Ben Weiss cites the example of how the credit card industry may soon offer hyper-individualised cards tailored to everyone’s particular quirks and shopping habits.
While A.I may be fintech’s hot girl of the year, she certainly has put the work in. The industry has been using A.I for years or even decades depending on how you define artificial intelligence. Think of chatbots, call centre routing, or loan assessments—some version of A.I. has been powering these tools for a while. The difference now, according to industry experts, is that A.I. integration is going to accelerate rapidly—though how this plays out remains to be seen.
As for blockchain, her reputation isn’t as hot thanks to the collapse of FTX, which happened around Christmas 2022, among other recent chaos and the ick of NFTs. Despite her reduced popularity, both blockchain and A.I technologies will have a pivotal role in defining the next era of finance. We are at different phases of the hype cycle, which can make it seem A.I. has superseded crypto, but banks and other big firms are still very much adopting blockchain. This is not surprising as distributed ledgers provide a superior way to move money and record transactions, and they will only get better as blockchains – such as Ethereum and Solana – evolve.