12 (safe) Fintech predictions for 2020

This year I decided to only make safe 2020 predictions, because who doesn’t like to be proven right? I want to be able to brag about my successes in one year.

1/ Firms, the usual suspects (IBM, SAP, MS, the big four, McK, FB, etc.) and startups alike, will continue to mislead the public by calling “blockchain” or “DLT” or even “cryptocurrency” conventional distributed software that use some kind of cryptographic function, even when they have no block no chain, pretending that they magically inherit from Bitcoin’s blockchain properties (they don’t).

Note1: by this standard, Visa is using DLT because it‘s a vast distributed network using cryptography to move digital money around. But who cares about logic.

Note2: I suggest using the neutral term “applied cryptography” to describe all of the permissioned / enterprise systems in this area

2/ Similarly, many firms will continue to call “Artificial intelligence” their conventional rule-based software.

3/ Quantum computing will the new “blockchain”. By that I mean it will be hyped like crazy.

Note: compared to “blockchains”, quantum computing is actually a new technology. It doesn’t mean that you have to hype it like crazy. It’s ok to be pragmatic and realistic about what it can do or cannot do *from the beginning*. The hype cycle is not a law of nature

4/ 5G will be hyped too, even though it’s the same as 4G, but faster

Note: Everything doesn’t need to be a “revolution”. In fact, when you’re in a perpetual revolution, it’s only an evolution. Just like you can’t save 120% of costs with 30% successive gains thanks to the cloud, RPA, blockchain and AI. And that’s fine: incremental innovation is still innovation!

5/ Media outlets will continue to publish corporate marketing material as if it’s news, publishing any PR piece that they are fed with without challenging the content of the piece, contributing to mislead the public about everything fintech.

Note: it hurts to say that, but the marketing baloney about “blockchain”, “DLT” and “AI” is still useful in the sense that it promotes software development & digital transformation. Most people can’t tell the difference anyway

6/ Because no “blockchain” / “DLT” / “Token” project can deliver on the delusional expectations set upfront, the analysts’ brains will try to resolve the cognitive dissonance by making them say things like:

** “Blockchain / DLT is like the internet. It will take ~20 years to succeed. It is still immature. I will be right some day”

** “Blockchain will become transparent. It will be a sign of success. I will be right some day”

** “Blockchain / Crypto has a PR problem. People need to realize it’s not only for criminals. I will be right some day”

In the most extreme cases, some analysts may experience Tourette’s syndrome screaming empty words such as “Internet of value!”, “Blockchain 4.0!”, “World computer!”, “Tokenization!” or “Bitcoin solves this!” frantically while running half-naked in the alleys of crypto conferences

7/ Most “evangelists” & influencers will continue to brainlessly hype technology in general, and to ignore the simple fact that most business problems are not about technology but about standards, governance and regulations. Oh and also humans.

8/ The DeFi* crowd will continue to discover how finance works, and why it works that way it currently does. Expect some failures.

*DeFi stands for delusional finance

9/ The public will believe less and less what it reads and sees from corporate marketing departments and media outlets. They’re pushing too hard for clicks & attention, and actual non-conflicted experts can now debunk the hype in real time on social media.

10/ The huge majority of humans will continue to be totally fine using EUR, USD, etc. and to trust banks and governements with their money over unregulated cryptocurrencies. Only niche groups need/want to keep their money under their mattress. The majority of us fear we will lose it or we will be robbed, and prefer to use intermediaries for convenience and security.

Corollary: the crypto crowd will continue to focus on the supply side, and stubbornly avoid studying the actual demand for cryptocurrencies

11/ Physical cash won’t disappear in any country

12/ Some firms delivering financial services will suffer from major cybersecurity events

Share your safe fintech predictions as well!

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