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Spring is around the corner

According to multiple sources, in the United States, 50 percent of the adult population is expected to have received at least 1 dose of a vaccine by the end of this month. At the current pace, 70 percent of vaccinated citizens will help achieve herd immunity. With Spring around the corner, I’d like to highlight two recent events that represent our collective post-pandemic future.

 

Gig Economy

FinTech Sandbox hosted “Wall Street to Main Street: The Role of FinTech in Ensuring Global Inclusive Growth,” on March 16 to 19, 2021. During this event, a few successful entrepreneurs discussed solutions designed for the Gig Economy, ensuring independent workers access to the same kind of benefits they would receive through the employer, including but not limited to, health insurance, retirement plans and financial services products such as credit and lending.

The challenges in this field are two-fold: developing the right products to serve this new growing constituency and secondly, to identify appropriate distribution channels. These issues are critical to a recovering U.S. economy, where total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 20.5 million in April while unemployment rose to nearly 15 percent, according to a recent study by PYMNTS. These numbers suggest that U.S. workers will look for other means to make a living, many of which will be second and third jobs, as 75.7 percent have no plans to quit current full-time gigs.

 

Crypto growth

GBA Blockchain Week Virtual Summit, held March 30 to 31, 2021, attracted professionals from all over the world. More than 30 digital asset trends were explored, including NFTs and various blockchain use cases in East and West regions.

GBA, which stands for greater bay area, has been one of the fastest growing economies in China. The region’s 17 billion population is more than 10 times larger than Hong Kong and offers opportunities to banks in Hong Kong, particularly related to cross-border commerce. Following are additional highlights from the event:

 

  1. The blockchain landscape changed after 2020, according to thought leaders from the world economic forum, where the market engaged in building up the ecosystem in 2019 and shifted focus to application building in 2020. In terms of post-pandemic trends in blockchain world, some experts believe blockchain will become part of technology stacks while others in the enterprise world believe the long tail of legacy systems moves too slowly to sustain the accelerated adoption we witnessed during the pandemic.

 

  1. From a government perspective, Asia is ripe for early blockchain adoption. While the U.S. region has excelled at early-stage technology transfer and funding innovation, Asian countries are much better in rolling out existing technologies across a broader spectrum.

 

  1. The most significant trend that needs to develop in blockchain is to address growing concerns about protecting privacy and personal identity.

 

  1. Virtual banks in HK need development agility to compete with traditional banks in 3 different ways: providing a better customer experience; offering cost-competitive products such as cash rebates, higher deposit interest rates and lower lending rates; and finally, borrowing a page from virtual banks by targeting specific customer segments and creating products/services for those segments.

 

  1. Abundant challenges and opportunities exist for traditional banks and virtual banks, both of which need to think about effective online methods for onboarding out-of-network and overseas customers.

Author

Tracy Lai

FinTech Consultant

Partner at LYSTAR GROUP 

Tracy Lai provides strategic and business development solutions to executives, and entrepreneur. Her professional experience includes work at Fortune 500 companies including Intel and RBS, and startups. Her expertise covers business development, risk management, project management and investor relations, in Financial Services, FinTech, Innovation, Technology and Education. As management consultant and FinTech advisor, she holds multiple senior roles with focus on cross border and cross industry collaboration, including projects in US, Asia and Europe.