“Sometimes the best innovations are those that tap into a basic need. Facebook improved communication. Uber helps you move. Airbnb gives you shelter. And when you think of financial technologies, and the importance of finance and banking, it is to make and protect money.”

Since the dawn of the Industrial Age, technology has facilitated change. This change has continued through the Digital Age, except that these days it tends to come much more quickly.

The financial markets are now at the forefront of this change. Brick-and-mortar banks are being replaced by smartphone apps. Trading floors are being repurposed as office space. Even the old Merc Club, where for many years overpriced drinks were consumed by traders and brokers with oversized egos, has been turned into CME Group’s Innovation Lab, a sort of 21st Century water cooler, where employees gather to exchange ideas.

CME Ventures is a subsidiary of the exchange group that makes strategic investments in fintech startups. Its director, Rumi Morales, looks at the history of fintech, and offers a glimpse of what tomorrow may bring. While no one can be certain, the trends point to more digitization, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity – three areas that are at the same time exciting and scary.

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