As 2022 gets underway, it’s time to look ahead to some of the trends I see shaping fintech in the year to come. From a greater openness around debt management to the continued (meteoric) rise of NFTs, here are the five areas I’ll be keeping an eye on.
1.Speciality Group FinTech
The first generation of consumer fintechs, investment apps and neobanks were instrumental in improving customer experience and democratising retail access to financial products. Still, there’s space to grow, with a sizeable long-tail of customer groups unserved by what’s currently on offer. This is an exciting opportunity for the speciality fintech products working to close the access gap and boost financial literacy.
2.From Buy-now-pay-later to Debt Management
As last year’s hype around crypto, GameStop and Robinhood went to demonstrate, we’ve come a long way as a society in our willingness to talk about our investments. Debt, however, remains taboo. According to latest figures, 57% of people in the UK have used a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) scheme, but a majority of these report struggling to repay these loans. I expect this will spark renewed attention to debt and credit management solutions for both users and lenders.
3.DeFi takes on TradFi
The appetite from retail investors for decentralised finance (DeFi) has initiated a powerful domino effect up the institutional chain, and green shoots suggest that more traditional hedge funds and institutions (TradFis) are hungry for a piece of the action. As DeFi broadens out from retail and crypto-native hedge funds, this year will see a strong focus on the companies that set out to help TradFis enter the space.
4.NFTs move beyond Digital Art and Collectibles
Last year saw the non-fungible token (NFT) explode at a growth rate of over 2200%. At its core, the NFT is a vehicle to create and verify personal ownership rights digitally, and while focus has so far remained in digital art and collectibles, the technology is still nascent — and further use-cases stand to be explored. With platforms such as SoRare ($4.3bn valuation) and OpenSea ($13.3bn valuation) recently reporting mega rounds and unicorn status, I’ll be looking out for further creative examples of NFTs in identity and authentication, lending and music royalties.
5.Fintech gets climate creative
The climate crisis was high on the agenda in 2021, with a pronounced emergence of carbon accounting startups. These companies adopted a range of approaches to help businesses measure and audit emissions, from supply chain tracing to AI estimation methodologies. This year, I expect fintechs to get creative and bring traditional financial instruments to bear on the climate sector. So far, I’ve seen exciting developments in speciality loans that finance offsetting and green renovation projects, as well as tech-enabled offset rating products — but I anticipate much more to come.