Disruption Insights: Decentralized and Integrated Finance is the Future

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Paulina Burzawa

Updated Apr 15, 2024 • 7 min read
Richard Scioli blog header Insights miniseries

The last five or even six months have brought changes and numerous small revolutions in the fintech space.

It may sound like an understatement, but companies around the world have to react to these shifts and they have to react quickly and with flexibility.

Keeping up can be challenging even for those of us who have been in the industry for many years. To help us all find our way in the ever-changing reality, Netguru is starting a new series of interviews, this time focusing on the aforementioned fintech space.

We are excited to present our first guest: Richard Scioli, VP – Business Development at Alloy. The company provides an identity decisioning platform that helps banks and fintech companies automate their decisions for onboarding, transaction monitoring, and credit underwriting. Richard's area of focus includes, among others, creating and implementing a go-to-market strategy for all Alloy's new solutions globally. This is how he describes himself: " A go-to-market thinker, product and team builder in fintech."

See what you can learn from Richard's extensive financial and technological experience.

What technologies or solutions are really trending in fintech? Can we expect exponential growth in any fintech areas (like regtech or insurtech)? What role will regulators play in the expansion of financial startups? In the Disruption Insights series, we gather insights and opinions from industry experts to answer the most pressing questions and foresee the future fintech landscape.

Solutions disrupting the industry right now

  • DeFi
  • Embedded finance
  • Open banking

I see many trending technologies or solutions as groupings and believe they relay two significant trends: finance will become increasingly decentralized, and it will also become increasingly integrated. Decentralization includes all of the elements of web3 mentioned here, like digital currencies and NFTs, which will make banking and finance more global.

As for how finance will become more "integrated," embedded finance and contactless payments will eventually become so familiar that we may stop noticing them as consumers. Think Uber or Lyft; it's a car ride with a payment process behind the scenes. Today, if you buy a Peloton Bike, you take out a loan with buy now, pay later (BNPL) lending products without much effort. Integration from this perspective means financial experiences will continue to become a frictionless or passive component of everyday life.

Most impactful technologies in fintech

APIs accelerating innovation

APIs are not the newest technology, I know, but the proliferation and quality of APIs enable significant development and adoption of new fintech products. Innovations in financial services like embedded finance, infrastructure technology, and BaaS are making it increasingly faster, easier, and safer to create offerings that make financial services more accessible and relevant for different populations globally.

Business models are dramatically changing now, and partnership strategies are crucial for any successful market launch in fintech. The APIs are the foundations that support teams in bringing ideas from concept to reality significantly quicker and on a global scale.

Blockchain shifting the industry

The rise of Web3 is undoubtedly changing the industry and consumer financial behavior – A16z noted that 50% of all VC investment went into Web3 companies, and that's incredible. We will soon see blockchain strengthening existing connections and trust in the global financial systems, and I believe we're still very early in the development cycle. Opportunities are increasing for more interplay between web3 and the traditional financial and corporate world.

We're now seeing interesting confluences of brand, crypto, and experiences. For example, Shopify ventured into NFTs to support their merchants creating memorable and exclusive experiences at this year’s South by Southwest.

The growing role of data and machine learning

The sheer amount of data available and increasingly sophisticated ways to derive meaning or signal from that data are changing many firms' approaches to evaluating risk. These new approaches should lead to better decision-making and greater access to banking, lending, investment, and insurance products.

🌍 Current state of affairs

The impact of war in Ukraine

It's a tragedy in Ukraine, and Alloy has supported a few initiatives to help identify Ukrainian refugees. There is no doubt that Russia's actions will further separate them from the global financial system. I would expect sanctions to remain high and broad with increased scrutiny on companies doing business with Russia. In addition, I believe we'll see many crypto companies increase their screening levels and emphasis on AML programs.

💸 Fintech now and then

Evolution of corporate innovation

Consumer expectations have driven change across companies of all types and sizes in finance and banking. Our larger and more traditional banking customers face challenges maintaining several customer interaction channels and legacy systems, but many firms also see significant opportunities in the coming years.

Options include blending digital and in-person experiences or using the deep well of customer data these firms hold to improve service and support. The most significant change we see in our banking segment is an urgency to recognize and accept new ideas. Most banks know that their customers want better experiences and are now wrestling with how to provide them.

VC investment in fintech

Despite recent news of layoffs and down funding rounds, I believe that the long-term prospects of fintech are not changing, and investment will pick up again. Consumer demand and the need for seamless and new financial services are not going away.

🌱 Sustainability in fintech

Definition of sustainability in fintech

I think about sustainability across three dimensions: environmental, economic, and social. At Alloy, we work with some incredible fintechs making progress on real change in all three areas. Aspiration, for example, allows customers to offset their gasoline purchases. NovaCredit, a partner, includes credit assessments for recent immigrants in the US. Lastly, Daylight offers tailored financial services for the LGBTQA community.

Seeing our clients and partners make progress against big issues has been an amazing part of my journey in fintech. Financial services touch almost every aspect of our lives, and sustainability must be part of any fintech’s product design.

Want to be a part of the Disruption Insights: Fintech? Shoot me an email at: paulina.burzawa@netguru.com

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