The Blockchain may be the more notable technological innovation that has come out of Cryptocurrency. In 2017, we will see a plethora of uses for the Blockchain. We’ve already seen the Blockchain being used for diamonds (Everledger) and land title registrations (BenBen). Expect to see even more startups going after new and currently unimagined uses for the Blockchain.
The Year of Mobile (again)
2016 saw monthly mobile money transactions exceeding one billion per month (more than double what PayPal processes). Expect to see even more proliferation of mobile, as a payment platform in both emerging and mature markets. Mobile wallets will become ubiquitous, while contactless and peer to peer payments on mobile will eat into credit card transactions.
Katlego Maphai, the founder of Yoco and a Techstars mentor remarked: “Money ‘electronification’ is getting a strong push globally, even at a policy level in some nations out of necessity. Sub-Saharan Africa will be active in this trend. It presents substantial growth opportunities for ambitious startups. Through this, I expect to see an increase in VC activity in the ubiquitous payments space, with expansion activities coming out of fintech ventures from Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. It may include some potential ecosystem collaborations across these markets.”
The Rise of the Robots…AI
2016 saw a milestone breakthrough in AI with Google’s DeepMind beating the world number one at the extremely complex game of Go. Expect to see AI becoming more prolific in combating fraud, improving credit scoring, impacting insurance and a new stream of robo-advisory across multiple segments.
Barclays Rise is growing an ecosystem for fintech in Africa, leading this initiative is Yasaman Hadjibashi, Group Chief Creation Officer for Barclays Africa. She had this to say: “As one of the major opportunities for our continent to make a difference, I see alternative lending frameworks, products and experiences as a unique chance to help Africa’s emerging generation youth, customers, employees and entrepreneurs on their path to success. Therefore, fintech ventures, industry experts, researchers, advanced data scientists and innovators, who are actively focused on this opportunity, are my personal target for new exciting collaborations and solution execution.”
To apply to the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in Cape Town complete the application here. Applications close on 5 February 2017.