The biggest developments of this year are likely to be in areas such as robo-advice, artificial intelligence, biometrics along with the commencing of Open Banking and the pace of application programming interface (API) development.
All of these are already becoming, not only some of the most used buzz words, but are being used in earnest by our industry.
Many of these areas are already being used in everyday life.
Most new smartphones use biometrics of some sort and most banks are looking to incorporate it into their sign-on processes.
Artificial intelligence is already integral not only to robo-advice in financial services worldwide, but many of the everyday websites that we use. APIs are now the norm for the transfer of data and are key to the success of open banking.
More revolutionary is the growing use of both Blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
In October 2017 the first property was put on the market where the seller would only accept a bitcoin completion.
By December 2017 the first two property transactions using bitcoin had completed. The Land Registry also agreed to record the sale price in a cryptocurrency, for the first time ever.
It is no longer just a case of needing to understand bitcoin however, the number of such cryptocurrencies is increasing rapidly.
Dubai became the first government to launch its own state cryptocurrency in October and there was talk that our government was considering doing the same thing this year.
Although Bank of England governor Mark Carney called for the crypto-asset ecosystem to be regulated, even he doesn’t want to ban them as he says doing so “risks foregoing potentially major opportunities from the development of the underlying payments technologies”.
Accommodate all people
It is clear that even Carney sees this merely as the start for cryptocurrencies.
Therefore, despite the significant fall in value that Bitcoin has experienced in the last couple of months, it is likely to be only a matter of time before the first mortgage is given in a cryptocurrency.
However, most companies in reality, including Fintechs, are still trying to come to terms with how these different technological developments will evolve and how best to encompass them.
With Open Banking coming into force, we could all be operating in a materially different way by the end of the year.
The challenge for everyone is keeping up with the changes and increasingly our clients will have different expectations, while engagement at all levels will be required to make such change a success.
As regulation, innovators and early adopters drive change, there will be an element of society for whom talk of bitcoin, blockchain and the like is likely to remain a foreign language for some time.
Accommodating all groups of people at the same time in embracing new technologies is likely to be one of the biggest challenges of the next few years.