Disrupting the financial sector is a global trend, but that doesn’t mean every continent in the world uses the same method to achieve that goal. FinTech is a quite popular disruption in the Western world, but Asia where most innovations will actually be invented. Asia is the driving market for Bitcoin trading — another financial disruption — and the region is keen on changing the financial landscape for the better.
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Creating a New FinTech Capital of the World
The way things stand right now, London, England, is the FinTech capital of the world. In fact, London is also the financial capital of the world, as most of the world’s funds flows through this city. But this scenario wouldn’t have played out this way were it not for several key important factors that helped the European city become a financial powerhouse.
Many people tend to forget that London has become the capital of FinTech in just a few years, the success of which can mostly be attributed to the UK government encouraging entrepreneurship. Unlike most countries in the world, where individuals are encouraged to work for somebody else and spend their days groveling as an employee, the United Kingdom sees the potential in its residents.
Keeping in mind that not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurship, business accelerators played an important role in culling the wheat from the chaff. Names such as Barclays Techstars, StartupBootCamp and Level 39 are household names in the FinTech sector these days, as they played a key role in shaping the next generation of entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom.
Furthermore, these startups were supported by several hundred mentors active in the finance and technology sector, which also led to more funding flowing in from angel investors and VC’s. All of these potentially high-value FinTech projects attracted quite a lot of attention from all over the world, and surprisingly supportive regulations allowed FinTech startups to thrive in the UK.
Such a powerful cocktail of governmental open-mindedness, VC funding, and proper guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs is not unique to just London. While there has been less support in Asian countries for this type of business, Singapore has broken that trend and started making a name for itself in the FinTech sector.
Things are off to good start in Singapore, as a FinTech initiative was launched by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. This was just the first step in the right direction, as StartupBootCamp has set up shop in the country as well. But despite these positive signs, there is still a long way to go if Singapore wants to dethrone London as the capital of FinTech.
No one will deny the FinTech potential is huge in Asia, as the continent is home to some of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. Furthermore, Asia houses a large population of IT-ers, developers, and people with a strong passion for both finance and technology in general. Despite these impressive facts, there are less than 1,000 startups across all of Asia, compared to over 1,000 in London alone.
Asia has proven not to be just a country that produces consumer electronics, as countries such as China have taken a keen interest in disruptive technologies. Especially Bitcoin trading, which is not regulated by banks or central authorities, has proven to attract quite a lot of funds from Chinese investors over the years.
Asia Keen on Bitcoin and FinTech
Some people might argue there is no better way to disrupt the financial system than by switching to a global payment system that operates outside of the banking sector. That statement holds some general merit, but digital currencies like Bitcoin will not overtake traditional banking any time soon. Nor do they need to, as both financial ecosystems can peacefully co-exist.
Not all Asian countries are as keen on Bitcoin, though, as the disruptive digital currency has officially been banned in Thailand. However, the Thai government is not yet actively pursuing this Bitcoin ban, and the regulatory landscape in this country can change at any given time. Similar to the efforts undertaken for FinTech startups, Bitcoin companies need proper guidance as well.
Whether or not Bitcoin will have a role in the FinTech scene across Asia remains to be seen for now. One thing is for sure, though: both FinTech and Bitcoin aim to disrupt the financial sector as we know it. With proper guidance, funding, and governments keeping an open mind, both sectors can achieve a lot over the next few years.
What are your thoughts on the FinTech scene in Asia? What is needed the most to make countries like Singapore a viable contender to London? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Disruptive Finance UK
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Singapore FinTech Consortium, The Australian