In success stories, we profile some of the key stories in Fintech and payments this month, focusing on areas of growth, resilience and innovation.
Here’s this month’s dose of positivity, featuring cybersecurity innovation, sustainability incentives, more crypto craziness and a look into what is driving the explosive popularity of NFTs.
2022 may well be hailed as ‘the year of crypto’
Cryptocurrency has undergone a drastic transformation over the last 12 years, beginning with just Bitcoin in 2009, over 6500 currencies now swell the ranks of a volatile yet extremely profitable market.
In Europe alone crypto apps reported a 560% increase in downloads in 2021 year-on-year. This percentage encompasses 82.9m Play Store downloads with over 120m downloads globally. It is predicted that by the end of 2022 this could hit 365m, a staggering figure.
Thomas Kriebernegg, MD and Co-Founder of App Radar, said: “We’re getting closer and closer to crunch time for crypto apps. More people are taking investing and owning cryptos and NFTs more seriously, so the battle is on to be their preferred wallet or trading platform. And given the digital nature of crypto, the centre stage for that battle is people’s phones.
“Retaining customers is the difference between success and failure, customers can swap to your competitors in just a few taps. Features, usability and visibility in the marketplaces are critical to taking market share in Europe”
Although crypto prices have tanked in recent weeks this has done nothing to curb investor enthusiasm, with crypto exchange operator FTX reporting an increase of 60% in userbase and 40% in trading volume.
Forget Your Password
The future of password security
Password protection is one of the oldest and most relied on forms of cybersecurity. As cyberthreats have advanced password protection has been continually refined with requirements such as password changes, unique characters, strength filters etc.
But passwords still aren’t secure, many are stored using online services or on phones, when ironically it might be safer to store passwords offline. All this makes password protection irritating for consumers and frustrating for businesses. It is easy to become discouraged from using a service or product for example, if a lengthy password process is involved. Convenience is paramount in the digital market and ultimately the slickest solution will always win out.
Michael Cromptom, Founder & CEO of Forghetti is predicting a passwordless future for Fintech and other cyber based industries.
“The future of passwords is to enable users to forget passwords completely. Biometrics can take us one step towards this, however when the biometrics fail (due to damaged skin, or face masks for example), the fallback is a password or PIN number.
“Given that the average person has over 100 services that they log on to, and this is an ever-growing number, we need to enable people to be able to login to all types of services, not only those using cutting edge technology. A service like Forghetti does this well and asks the user to remember a simple doodle rather than any passwords at all. With future developments, the ease of use of this type of system and the integration of biometrics to support this, paths the way for a very peaceful and secure mind.”
The New Crypto on the Blockchain
What powers the explosive popularity of NFTs?
Up until recently bitcoin and other crypto currencies seemed to be the new kid on the block, fighting for acceptance amongst mainstream investment stratagems. But NFTs seem to have stolen the lime light, or at least shifted the weight of financial scrutiny on to what many deem a fintech farce.
According to Cordel Robbin-Coker, CEO at Carry1st, one of the biggest legitimate reasons for the explosive popularity of NFTs is the potential paradigm shift the tokens could have for gaming.
“Until now, the value created within a particular game resides entirely within that game. An avatar skin, for example, can only be used within that game and can (in most cases) only be sold through transferring an entire game account — something that’s more common than you might think. NFTs allow players to effectively transfer value from games into the real world through blockchain,”
In a sense this is no different to collecting rare art pieces in the physical world, but the potential is much broader. Celebrity NFTs have been harshly criticised in media of late as obvious cash grabs with poor liquidity, but as a highly experimental market, the potential to earn is still there for the smart investor. Perhaps in the future we will see budding talent traded on the exchanges as much as Bitcoin or Ethereum.
HSBC’s Green Future
HSBC earmarks $100 million to fund green technology
Green initiatives have become increasingly important to our financial future, with UNCTAD estimating the value of sustainability-themed investment products at $3.2 trillion in 2020, up more than 80% from 2019. It is predicted that the annual investments in green bonds alone may be worth $1tn by 2023.
Not one to fall behind the financial future, HSBC has announced it will join the Breakthrough Energy Catalyst Network with a $100m investment. Catalyst, an initiative within the larger Breakthrough Energy network founded by Bill Gates, supports decarbonisation of high-carbon sectors via four climate critical technologies - direct air capture, clean hydrogen, long-duration energy storage, and sustainable aviation fuel.
In addition to its $100m investment, HSBC will join the leadership council for Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, providing an expert view on the transition opportunities in some of its biggest markets, notably in Asia and the Middle East.
Noel Quinn, HSBC’s group chief executive, comments: “A small number of green technologies will reshape the industrial landscape of the world over the next 5 to 10 years. I am grateful for the opportunity for HSBC to be part of Breakthrough Energy Catalyst to accelerate their development and make them scalable. I genuinely believe this ground breaking partnership can help bring these much-needed clean solutions to market and build a more sustainable world.”
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