On August 1, the Federal Reserve Board released a paper on the origins and growth of financial technology, and how these “deep innovations” have the potential to affect financial stability. The paper, “FinTech and Financial Innovation: Drivers and Depth,” was authored by John Schindler and adapted from a speech prepared for Banco Central do Brasil’s XI Annual Seminar on Risk, Financial Stability and Banking. Fintech, according to Schindler’s adaptation of the Financial Stability Board’s definition, is best understood as a “technologically enabled financial innovation that could result in new business models, applications, processes, products, or services with an associated material effect on financial markets and institutions and the provision of financial services.” Schindler considers the following to fall into the definition of fintech: (i) online marketplace lending; (ii) equity crowdfunding; (iii) robo-advice; (iv) financial applications of distributed ledger technology; (v) and financial applications of machine learning (also called artificial intelligence and machine intelligence). The paper provides a deeper discussion into the following topics driving fintech innovation:

  • supply and demand factors of financial innovation, including regulatory changes and changes to financial or macroeconomic conditions, contributing to the use of technologies supporting fintech financial products and services;
  • depth of innovations such as peer to peer lending, high frequency trading, mobile banking and payments, bitcoin, and blockchain all with the “potential to have transformational effects on the financial system”; and
  • demographic demands.

Schindler’s position is that fintech evolved, in large part, due to a combination of a number of supply and demand factors occurring in a relatively small period of time, which, as a result, drove new financial innovations.