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Envisioning financial technologies

Why the future of finance?

The financial sector is practically as old as humanity itself. Currency and value are intrinsically connected to modern society, and historical attempts to undo this tie have failed. While the sector is frequently mired in crises, it has shown surprising resilience from being displaced by other paradigms. Rapid advances and dissemination of emerging technology, however, promises to upend many characteristics we take for granted.

This visualization attempts to gauge the technological readiness of the financial industry as a whole. While looking at trends that are likely to influence the very notion of value in the coming decades, we try to establish a baseline of whether organizations are paying enough attention to the imminent changes that will define the future of society or if they are running the risk of letting accelerating change vanquish existing business models.

As part of the research and conceptualisation for the Envisioning Financial Technologies project, the concept of a single financial portal was explored in some detail with the preparation of a demonstration website. The portal would bring together all consumers' financial products and information, and provide a neutral platform where consumers and financial institutions meet to do business. The features of such a portal, together with benefits and risks to financial institutions and barriers to creation have also been considered.

Who made this?

This visualization was researched and designed by Michell Zappa and Simon Cox exclusively for SWIFT's Innotribe

Keynote presentations

Keynote presentations

Custom research

Custom research

Technologies mentioned:


Our online presence already serves to build quantifiable reputation systems. In a potential post-scarcity future, reputation might become the new currency, bringing unimaginable change to our current notions of value and currency.

Reputation management, Post-scarcity economies, Reputation economies, Reputation quantification, Social graph quantification, Attention economies, Pervasive payment + identity systems, Whuffie


Perhaps the technological artifact most closely associated to finance, currencies are undergoing considerable transformation. Brands and virtual worlds are already dabbling in private monetary systems, but an increasingly fragmented yet interconnected future lies ahead.

Cryptocurrencies, In-game currencies, Virtual currencies, Digital bartering systems, Brand-backed digital currencies, Government-backed digital currencies, Quantum currencies, Virtual economies


Smartphones converge hundreds of distinct capacities while putting them at arms reach. For being our main access point to the internet, they'll take on a role broader than merely a "better wallet".

Mobile credit card readers, Mobile payment interoperability, Interpersonal cardless transactions, Cardless payments, Biometric wallets, Social commerce, Location-based transactions, Contactless payments


Every individual joining a network increases the value of said network exponentially to existing members. The power of crowds is immutable, but how to properly leverage this potential is for each organization to decide.

Crowdfunding, Crowdsourced financial decision management, Person-to-company lending, Digital gift economies, Microfinance, Inducement prize contest, Relationship economies, P2P consumerism, P2P credit markets, Collaborative Consumption



The financial sector is no stranger to big data, but massive advances in information capture and computation technologies demand an ever faster pace of adoption for the industry.

Data-driven regulation, Push banking data to consumers, Predictive consumer spending analytics, Open financial estimates platform, Modelling/forecasting, Cloud computing


A cornerstone of modern banking, thoroughly interconnected systems depend on automation. However, a wealth of emerging technologies are promising to bring several new sources of information into the fold.

Self-governed investment algorithms, Open-source investment algorithms, Banking APIs, Consumer HFT, Digital Asset Grid, HFT, AIs with asset ownerships rights, Consumer rules-based automation


The financial sector is beholden to tight security and predicting illicit activity. Invariably, new technologies permit new vectors of attack, demanding more foresight from the industry.

Consumer data protection, Biometric identification, Biometric payments, State-organized cyber attacks, Rogue AIs, Web of trust, Single-sign-on, Neutrino-based low-latency trading, Quantum cryptography, Anonymous Analytics, Virtual crime prediction, High-Frequency hacking, Pseudonym reputation system attacks, VPN, SSL


Advances in technology tends to lower the bar of entry from incumbents. Entire swathes of the financial sector risk being displaced by nimble startups from around the world that are all willing to put the consumer first.

Micropayments, Banking as a service/API, Internet-only banks, Computational/AI banks, Bank-free digital P2P transactions

License & credits

“Envisioning the future of financial technology” has a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, which means that you are free to use it as an individual (or in your organization) whichever way you see fit, as long as you credit the authors.


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