Ever been to FinDEVr? If not, be sure to add it to your bucket list. It’s like Finovate, but for developers - an event where CIOs, CTOs, developers and visionaries all get together to show (and show off) their latest innovations. And after having just watched and listened to two days of fast-paced 20-minute FinDEVr presentations, proof of concepts, and then having follow-up conversations with the people making all this happen, it became clear to me where we are heading. Two trends that are already taking hold and shaping the future stood out from all the others: Applications Programming Interface (API) and Blockchain.
About APIs – there is now a major push to provide APIs in order to extend all banking and payments technologies out to anyone who wants to consume them. Why is this important? Mainly because this allows the disrupters and innovators to come up with new and creative ways to utilize the banking and payment rails without the overhead that everyone’s been accustomed to paying. File transfer protocols, batch processing, and day lags are now a thing of the past; faster payments are now an expectation and not the exception as today’s world is all about the real-time delivery of funds. Facebook payments, Square Cash, and the transfer of money through messaging apps are just the beginning. API development and implementation are changing the space - fast.
Now Blockchain (a continuously growing list of encrypted data records): this is still a much discussed and in many ways a controversial topic. But no matter what side of the Blockchain line you stand on, there’s one thing everyone can agree on: it’s here, it’s real, and it’s bringing about a monumental shift. But do I think this will be a quick-to-evolve change? Maybe not at the speed that mobile changed the online banking space, but it will definitely be fast. As the smartphone did for the print, movie, music and cellphone industries, Blockchain is going to do for many other industries.
The use of Blockchain is huge and it’s not just in the financial space. Blockchain is being used anywhere there needs to be a trusted and secure way to move data without the need of an intermediary to prove the transaction. There are groups (banks, developers, payments companies and so many more) all around the world trying to figure out the applications for this technology. But as one colleague I spoke with at FinDEVr observed, right now we have more people in the Blockchain space than we have people who truly understand all the ways to use Blockchain. For instance, there are companies now providing Blockchain in their cloud solutions specifically to see how their clients will use the technology, in the hopes that they, the company, will get a better understanding of the present and future uses of the technology itself. So while all the present and future uses of Blockchain may not be known, I believe that the disruptions it will cause will continue to be major.
The explosive growth in the use of APIs and Blockchain set the stage for the largest disruptions we have seen in decades, and as momentum grows and use cases become more plentiful, more and more people will get a better understanding of their importance. I think it won’t be long before all the pieces will align and the impact APIs and Blockchain will have on the future will become clearer for everyone. But for now, you either get involved, be part of the innovation, or you get out of the way because this momentum isn’t going to stop.
The opinions, findings, or perspectives expressed in this content are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of The Bancorp, Inc., its affiliates, or its or their employees.