This is a summary of the op-ed “Is Crypto Fintech? It Depends Who You Ask” by Leah Callon-Butler, published on CoinDesk on July 20, 2020.
“Is crypto fintech?”
It’s a question many have asked. But when Emfarsis director and CoinDesk columnist Leah Callon-Butler asked this question in her favorite discussion groups, the answers were … complicated.
They ranged from philosophical (“fintech is a sector, crypto is a discipline”), to structural (“there is a subset of crypto that is fintech, but not all crypto is fintech”), and even categorical (“Bitcoin is the first real new financial technology”).
The article explores the question of whether crypto is fintech, sharing input from the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance (CCAF), whose cryptocurrency and blockchain lead, Apolline Blandin, believes that “a crypto-asset perfectly fits its definition of alternative finance as a monetary system emerging outside the traditional one.”
The word “fintech” has become “about as impactful as other overworked, misused words like ‘disruption’ and ‘innovation,'” the article says. With this in mind, the CCAF developed a taxonomy guide identifying 15 verticals, 11 subsets, and 102 possible categories of financial services outside the traditional sector, which include classifications like digital lending, remittance, mobile payments, cryptocurrency and blockchain.
“I think a lot of people hear the buzzword and silo it,” said Tania Ziegler, the CCAF’s Lead in Global Alternative Finance Benchmarking, about the term “crypto.” “But we’ve got crypto asset exchanges, market provisioning, digital custody and consensus services — so that’s effectively four different overarching verticles where a crypto could live.”