Almost every German has a bank account. In the meantime, the “almost” can even be (almost) deleted, since even the homeless can no longer be refused the opening of a basic checking account by law. The reason is obvious: without a current account, we are not part of this company. Rent, tax, credits – bar runs nothing today. Those who carry large amounts of cash are either drug dealers or arms dealers, but perhaps some red light boss. Of course, this assertion is not true, but it is already clear: the bank account and its giral money have already won the crusade!

In the digital age, however, the good old current account and the general business model of the established banks face several new battles. For example: Giralgeld vs. Blockchain – Creative FinTechs can be a kind of interface between the New World and the Old World and make finance, one hardly dares to pronounce – agile.

Established banks in KrisE

It is not only numerous investigations and reports that suggest that the german big banks are once again in a crisis that is much larger than one thinks. Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and Co not only suffer from the ECB’s tough capital requirements and low interest rate policy, but they simply lack a promising future plan. After the recent crises, the confidence of Otto Normal bank customers is at an unprecedented low point.

FinTechs are doing just that and want to offer financial services for the future. It is not only payments and transfers that are two of the many areas in which FinTech companies are on the verge. Another business is personal finance management. In this area, for example, algorithm-driven possibilities of asset management are developed. In summary, FinTech start-ups, rather than traditional investments, have more than established banks, “experiment” with new technologies and other investment portfolios. This makes FinTechs far more agile in adapting to rapid economic changes than the big banks will ever be. Nevertheless, the money system does not revolutionize finTechs, although new payment and investment options always make it easier to deal with “money” – whatever it may look like in the future.

Agile FinTech Startups on the Rise

According to a ranking by the consulting firm KPMG, the five best fintechs in the world include the service providers Lufax (China), Zhongan (China), Oscar (USA), Qudian (China) and Ant Financial (China), a company from the network of the online retailer Alibaba. With a clear focus on online payment, Ant Financial also provides advanced financial services for small and micro-firms as well as for private individuals. In addition to the payment service, the range of services also covers asset management, individual creditworthiness checks, reporting as well as services from private banking and cloud computing.

Agile Finance and Digital Transformation

While fintechs are overtaking the old-established banks with novel financial products and services, FinTechs can’t do without them. After all, even a successful fintech such as world saving has as a business model simply fixed-money investments at international banks. If they fail to overcome their fundamental crisis, fintechs will eventually plunge into a first deep crisis. It is also easy for banks to look at the services of the best and most popular FinTechs and to enter into their own model. Thanks to the gigantic reach in marketing, the banks could catch up again.

Big banks catching up

Moreover, the big banks have much greater resources to invest in technologies that can actually revolutionize banking, while the existing start-up financial service providers are primarily entangled in a web that makes them dependent on international banks. According to a recent report by Manager magazine, Deutsche Bank describes blockchain as “one of the first truly disruptive ideas in the fintech sector.” Even former JPMorgan manager Blythe Masters is causing a stir with a blockchain startup, suggesting that in less than two years, blockchain will have arrived in every bank in the world. That, and nothing else, could actually completely turn the finance system around. In addition to the still successful Bitcoin, Ethereum, for example, is an interesting project that the big banks are observing with argus eyes. Such technologies not only change the way money is managed, but also how money is created.

In the world of banks today, money is simply created by a booking rate for lending. By the way, this is also one reason why the state can never pay off its debts. While philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato still wondered whether the monetary value is due to the metal value of the coins, or by the nominal value determined by the state by decree, money is today “produced” by debt. As soon as a bank lends a loan to a private customer or a state, that amount is credited to its account. In fact, however, this is only a demand from the bank to the customer, which is for cash. Because interest (and interest) is estimated on the amount awarded, more giral money has been incurred than there is any cash (work performance in society). A system of money creation that cannot go down forever – after all, the resulting, exponentially growing debt must be borne by private individuals and companies.

Blockchain FinTechs as a revolution of the financial world

To return to the example of Ethereum, founder and developer Vitalik Buterin was already so interesting for the CIOs and CTOs of the big banks and fund companies at the beginning of the project that they listened in a small voice at an event in the Swiss embassy to how his lines of code will make their big empires superfluous in the future. Like the popular Bitcoins, Ethereum is based on blockchain technology. The difference: Ethereum is not a pure cryptocurrency, but a platform for distributed apps that in themselves consist of smart contracts.

Conclusion

The triumph of successful FinTech start-ups, such as the deposit broker “World Savings”, makes the financial industry agile, but the revolution of the sometimes corked financial system often does not represent the companies – at least with a few exceptions: Precisely those FinTechs that focus on blockchain technology will certainly gain even more importance in the long term. The big banks see their still existing hegemonic position in jeopardy and are working diligently on new methods, but their pioneers are mostly the innovative start-ups. In the future, different groups of FinTechs, all of which cover different areas of finance, will, in combination with the business areas, constitute a highly agile network of value creation and financial services.

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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