Cryptocurrency becomes mainstream and new digital standards arrive — fintech predictions for 2021

In recent years we’ve seen some significant shifts in the financial sector, with newer businesses using technology to challenge more established players.

Much of this has centered around the use of blockchain, although cryptocurrency still hasn’t entered the mainstream. What do experts think we’ll see in the fintech space next year?

Benoit Grangé, OneSpan’s chief technology evangelist says, “A massive transformation is occurring across digital and mobile channels in how banks engage with their customers and use AI. Banks will combine machine learning with biometrics to provide new experiences, such as facial and fingerprint verification instead of passwords. One example we’re already seeing is banks leveraging machine learning to detect and read physical passports to allow for ID scanning. Customers use their smartphones to scan a government-issued ID and then take a selfie. The banks then leverage biometric facial comparison technologies with liveness detection to verify that ID is authentic and unaltered, confirming the individual’s identity.”

Grangé also believes that banks will start to accept new currencies, “Because of COVID-19 and the move toward a cashless society, banks will begin to accept other forms of currency like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. COVID-19 brought on a fear of handling cash and a rise in credit card fraud, which prompted banks to begin looking into accepting alternative, safe and secure means of currency.” But he sees this being subject to more regulation too, “As digital banking platforms have experienced massive growth, many governments and industry bodies worldwide have begun to look to Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) and cryptocurrencies in terms of what they might add to the financial sector. This has resulted in new and refreshed conversations around the possible uses of CBDCs and cryptocurrencies.”

MovoCash CEO Eric Solis sees new digital banking standards coming into play too, “Technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and Blockchain have been at the forefront of disrupting the banking industry for years. The pandemic has further exposed the holes in the banking industry as they rely heavily on dated legacy systems, leaving them vulnerable to fraud. This will be the year that banks will be forced to implement a standardized body of standardized regulations to regulate the emergence of technologies in digital payments.” He also predicts the rise of a new model of global banking, “The idea of a global banking system takeover has been underway for quite some time. COVID has further accelerated the creation of a new global banking system that will transform banks into a digital bank platform controlled by a new global currency. For a global currency to do this, it must be a trackable currency to eliminate fraud. This transformation will open new revenue streams, reduce friction and offer consumers new ways to bank.”

Coin Cloud CEO Chris McAlary says, “Virtual currency wallets will be pre-installed on every mobile device by the end of 2021. Mobile wallets — Apple Pay, Google Pay and/or Samsung Pay — have been found natively on nearly every modern mobile device for years, so it’s safe to say that digital currency wallets are next. This will be made possible through the adoption of virtual currencies by big players like Facebook, PayPal, Venmo, Square’s Cash App and Visa partnerships to enable digital currency payments at retail. You might already have a bitcoin wallet on your device without even knowing it.”

He foresees more widespread adoption of cryptocurrency too, “Widespread consumer adoption of digital currency will double, reaching at least 700,000 Bitcoin transactions per day. Consumers are adopting digital currency at record rates, both as a medium of exchange and a store of value. They are looking to integrate digital currency into their everyday lives, including being able to pay for goods and services, in stores as well as online. At the end of 2020, there were over 350,000 daily Bitcoin transactions recorded worldwide. I predict that will double in 2021.”

Todd Rychecky at Opengear, says, “2021 will be blockchain’s comeback year, and with major businesses adopting cryptocurrency, like PayPal, this trend will only speed up and require a resilient network.”

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