BARCELONA - 09/09/2019 — Zigurat Innovation and Business School analyzes some of the fintech trends shaping 2019 and discusses the most remarkable developments with the expert Lilia Stoyanov.
To give some context to the launch of the upcoming edition of the Global MBA in Digital Business, Zigurat Innovation and Business School asked Lilia Stoyanov, a lecturer in the master and an expert in fintech and digital transformation, about the predictions made for financial technology in 2019 and how well they have fared so far.
Lilia Stoyanov - an Oxford University graduate with a major in Financial Strategy- is the CEO of Transformify and serves as an Expert Evaluator for Research and Innovation for the Horizon2020 EU Programme of the EU Commission. At Zigurat, she lectures on blockchain, fintech, fundraising, and digital transformation FICO.
AI and Machine Learning are Rewriting the Finance Industry
The financial services industry is shifting slowly but surely towards fostering innovation. Fintech products improve the ease with which people can carry out different financial transactions while improving operational transparency. At the beginning of each year, numerous financial publications list their predictions for the twelve months to come, a somewhat great resource for anyone catching up on the trends, as well as for those interested in understanding what is becoming important in financial services.
If there was an aspect on which most of the experts agreed, it was that AI and Machine Learning will hit the center stage in 2019. Lilia Stoyanov highlights the use of AI in providing access to lending services to those who have no credit score for the bank to review. Potential borrowers sign up and allow the app to mine their data from social media, web browser history, geo-locations, and other information, to build a picture that allows banks to assess if they are creditworthy or not.
Another area of adoption is security and anti-fraud solutions. “The big trend here is that the two-click purchases offer great convenience for shoppers, but also present huge opportunities for fraudsters,” Stoyanov explains. Stopping such activities brings important financial gain for the companies while helping them to increase the trust of the customers.
Blockchain and Bitcoin in 2019
When asked about the most significant Blockchain implementation cases of 2019 in the mainstream finance industry, Stoyanov gives Nexo - a platform that allows users to receive loans secured by their crypto assets - as an example. The company claims to offer the only insured account that lets users borrow instantly in 45+ fiat currencies and earn daily interest on their idle assets. “It’s not surprising that this business model is a success. Imagine that you purchased a bitcoin at USD 10k, and now it's worth only USD 6k. But you need cash now. Shall you sell at a loss? No, not as far as Nexo is concerned. You can borrow the money by securing the loan with your bitcoins and wait for better times to sell them,” she illustrates the case.
Another question on everyone’s mind is how the crypto market will behave in the months to come. According to Lilia, different factors affect the price of Bitcoin. In the past, regulatory changes in China have impacted its price, and the same is valid for overall economic conditions. Each time people lose trust in the banking system somewhere in the world, the price of Bitcoin and other altcoins goes up. “In my opinion, it is unlikely for Bitcoin to return to its highest price by the end of 2019,” she concludes.
Cashless society is still a long way off
The myth of the innate conservatism of the financial industry is hard to shake since, in 2019, cash is still the most common form of transaction. Lilia points out that “even though companies such as Revolut, Monzo, and N26 have reached the unicorn status, they are still competing more or less for the same users.” However, the adoption of mobile payments in some African countries, including Kenya and Nigeria, is increasing over time, even if there is still a long way to go. The same applies to Southeast Asia. The penetration depends on access to a stable Internet connection, reliable anti-fraud solutions, and trust in the new payment providers.
All in all, despite the financial industry being somewhat slow to respond to the full potential of technological innovation, in 2019, it’s definitely on its way to embrace disruption. The accelerating pace of technological change is the most creative force in the financial services ecosystem today. It’s in this context of the significantly disrupted competitive environment that Zigurat launches its fifth edition of Global MBA in Digital Business. The mission of which is to bring together digital transformation visionaries, such as Lilia Stoyanov, to provide the industry with the knowledge and skill-set needed to innovate and develop the new generation business leaders.
About Zigurat Innovation & Technology Business School
Zigurat Innovation & Technology Business School is a global Business School focused on innovation and technology. Zigurat was founded in 2001 as an e-learning education school for engineers and architects. In 2017, with 16 years of experience in the educational sector and with the ambition of training companies and professionals who want to participate in the digital transformation, the Innovation & Technology Business School was born. Zigurat proposes a disruptive education model, based on an immersive online methodology, called collaborative work, which connects professionals from all over the world.
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