The future of fintech in web 3.0, an event by SCB, hosted at Seven Peaks Software’s office
Here comes another precious Talk hosted by SCB TechX and Seven Peaks software with special panelists from various backgrounds: Andre Chan – SCB TechX Innovation Lead, Jonas Thürig – Head of F10 Singapore, Jostein Aksnes – CEO of Seven Peaks Software, and Maxime Paul – CMO of Atato. This panel discussion will be all about “The future of Fintech in Web 3.0”, and here is the summary for you to be prepared for the new era of the digital world.
What makes a successful Fintech company and product line today?
As you can see from the trend during these past five and a half years, people have been awakened to cryptocurrency. While they didn’t care about it that much previously. That is the key! It is all about timing.
What makes sustainable Fintechs, consequently, is that they are willing to change what they offer to the crowd. There is a case where many Fintechs start offering their customers a credit card service, for example, and six months afterwards they offer a cable service instead. That is because they realise that they want their product to be a little bit more right to their customers’ needs. That agility and ability to always think about what the markets really want or what the users really ask for are actually exactly what makes it right. If you put all things together, you would realise that Fintech can offer many different products and services, and end up servicing different groups of people with subsections.
It’s time to listen to users’ points, especially around this time when people are paying more attention to building up and possessing their own digital assets, according to the over-10-year observation by Atato – a digital assets technology company offering services to connect businesses with blockchain networks. The opportunity has arrived! But it’s not just about finding out how to sell more. Right now, let’s think about what is the hidden desire of the market and turn it into a product eventually. After that, keep your eyes on the right time to serve the right tools or technology to people who really need it.
What are the possible areas of innovation and disruption in Fintech?
Last year ASEAN startups raised $3.5 billion USD which is actually three times over the funding in 2020. It is a significant growth, especially in the digital banks area for people are not hesitant anymore to talk about crypto. What the panellist would foresee from what they have been experiencing through the last two to three years is that the incumbents are trying to do an experiment on digital assets, metaverse, and also ‘gamefi’, so the infrastructure needs to be built.
Surprisingly, some financial companies e.g. JP Morgan tried to put themselves into the digital world already, which there is still not much. It is more like they just get in there to set things up first because it requires expert experimentation to make it successful. Plus, over the last few years, we have AR, VR, and AI. Anyway, it takes some time to develop these things to be a version users can use nowadays. Blockchain is another technology we cannot ignore, and we still have to keep our eyes on whether it can develop what kind of solutions for us in the upcoming future.
Perception on the digital economy and the importance of cross-border/cross-industry partnership
It was the case two years ago when people were saying that blockchain is a solution looking for a problem. But the thing that people don’t understand is that action is not here to solve the problem. It’s basically to create new businesses.
For example, what’s happening today in Ukraine. They created a decentralised, autonomous organisation. People were sending funds and they were organised or managed by the community themselves. In less than 24 hours, they had a few million. This is impossible for the traditional organisation to process like this because people have to pay and wait for another 48 hours for transparency. It’s the same way for decentralised finance today. In Maxime’s case, he was trying to buy U.S stocks as a foreigner and he failed. No banks were going to send him a stock. They were sending him to Robinhood to buy stocks there instead.
Today with blockchain decentralised finance, gladly everyone can go and participate in the finance space. They don’t need to ask anybody anymore. Basically, they just need to follow regulations if they want to buy cryptocurrency, but otherwise, they need to go to a regulated exchange and report their tax. So the regulator is trying to keep the border for this new technology where we can see many young smart people creating protocols that never existed before to make access to anybody whatever age they are. We don’t have to wait to become 18 years old now to buy a stock.
Web 3.0 grants us a lot of new opportunities that web 2.0 cannot provide whether it be partnerships, communities, etc. When talking about NFTs, gamefi, or DeFi, there are a lot of groups of people in the community discussing different protocols. They exchange a lot in many different cultures. As a result, in a year or two, we are going to see a much more user-friendly interface of all technology, and there will also be cool new applications on our phones.
SCB TechX perception on digital economy
What got people into blockchain initially wasn’t the currency. It was the ideology. It’s more just self-management. That exact ideology has brought finance people and non-financial people together discussing strategies on defi protocols. The truth is that the reason why tech people actually like it is not necessarily because of the money, not because of the tech itself. People are inherently related to its nature which allows all of the different cultures to come discussing things as equals. For this reason, TechX is thinking about what people are talking about today and it is Blockchain technology web 3.0. Talking about the product, we cannot always necessarily wait for the opportunity to come up with but we have to be ready if all possibilities come. It’s becoming more and more important for companies, especially in Thailand, to start to realize that we are not a client-based company. We are a company that has opportunities in the fragmented market, and actually make a lot of friends.
Thinking of the ideology asset by decentralising allows companies to know to run what they are good at, for example, it makes no sense to send a blockchain guy to sell oracle. It’s crucial if a company knows how to put people in the right places whether it’s in different countries or whether it’s in different technologies. Especially in the world of IT, we always used to say we are connected but the truth is it is a connection without a real connection. It is an interaction required in web 3.0. That’s why it’s going to become more important to develop business-wise, positioning-wise, product-wise, and even thinking-wise for someone that has worked for some type of projects. That’s where TechX has a position to make sure that there’s the correct cultural mindset to move forward and really tackle the market.
Lessons or perspectives through mentorship and incubation programmes
One of the failing strategies that have been seen is that an incumbent has a brilliant idea to do something in blockchain, but they just basically start plowing millions into that one project and lay all of their hope that it will become successful. The suggestion is to not put all eggs in one basket. Diversify risks and do the prototype experiment. For the startup side, the initiatives are going to be so important because they can face so many hurdles, and also many roadblocks. Startups really need to have experience in space and also a great team.
Market size is also another factor to consider to become a successful startup. For example, if a startup is setting up their business in Singapore, there are only 5 million customers or potential that they can reach. So it is needed to have a backup plan to explore bigger markets. Then it is, again, about timing that we have emphasised throughout this discussion. Let’s see Facebook as an example. Facebook was a great idea five years earlier and two years later it’s probably not. The key is to be adaptable through trends to develop the most suitable product that can become a proper solution. Keep in mind that fancy products are useless if customers do not need them at that time.
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