2) ICOs Surge, Then Surge Some More:
If nothing else in fintech caught your attention this year (which seems unlikely) odds are you were still caught in the ICO, or Initial Coin Offering, storm: as a way to fund startups without the complications of an Initial Public Offering (IPO). ICOs burst onto the scene at the beginning of 2017 and hasn’t left the main stage since. Startups, fintech entrepreneurs, and even banks invested money into — or at the very least offered an opinion on — ICOs. It helped that the cryptocurrency bitcoin and several other leading cryptocurrencies kept increasing in valuation throughout the year, keeping digital tokens in the public eye. Not all attention has been been positive. Several countries, notably South Korea and China, have either stalled or outright banned ICOs, while U.S. regulators like the SEC are starting to focus more and more intently on the trend. Will 2018 also be a year heavy with ICOs? And where will cryptocurrency prices head?
3) Payment Features in Non-Fintech Platforms:
Facebook, Apple, Samsung, Amazon all had one thing in common — none of these entities started off as payment companies. Yet in 2017, payments was at the forefront of these companies’ strategy. But whether users prefer these non-fintech platforms for their payments is still a question. Neither Apple Pay nor Samsung Pay have gained major traction over the P2C platform PayPal. Meanwhile, Facebook has been particularly active with integrating P2P and invoicing features in its chat system AKA Facebook Messenger. Banks too have jumped on the trend with cases like Nordea Bank enabling its customers to use the social media platform to make payments. And Apple Pay now works for P2P too. The phenomenon has also strengthened the position of companies like PayKey, a keyboard app that enables payment features in a close-ended chat service such as Whatsapp. Expect to see more of this blend of payments into social platforms next year. After all, Venmo proved is that payments, particularly the P2P variety, are social [insert emoji here.]
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