Can you hear it? That's the sound of the guys working on the chain. Blockchain to be precise.
It's no longer a silent revolution in the UK financial world. It's moving fast. Really fast. In fact an amazing £634 per second fast. Or £70,000 by the time you've read this article.
Scotland's rapidly-growing blockchain business is making a big noise in the UK's fintech sector. It's heading towards fever-pitch. And, to prove the point, last week's ScotChain16 event in Edinburgh was amongst the largest and well-attended blockchain events ever, uniting thought leaders and entrepreneurs from across the globe.
This is where London banks with an interest in fintech innovators can follow those in Scotland. Earlier this year Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) joined 36 banks worldwide by testing blockchain as a platform for commercial paper transactions.
Not only is Scotland sitting on a data goldmine estimated to be worth £17bn, it is a financial powerhouse comprising major banking multinationals – all fuelled by a booming sector of over 1,000 tech firms.
Scotland’s concentration of financial institutions combined with its academic excellence and start-up environment are the perfect blend for fintech innovation.
Under fintech, blockchain is a trusted distributed ledger of transactions that operates without the need for centralised oversight. In London, asset managers are seeing Bitcoin make positive disruption in the way the fund industry operates, and are witnessing significant changes to business models.
Scotland is an attractive market for firms seeking to supply the financial services sector. For example, Scotland’s high concentration of asset management firms is likely to be of interest to fintech experts.
How can London firms benefit from being part of Scotland’s blockchain and fintech ecosystem?
- You’ll access a fintech cluster with world-leading companies based in Scotland – Morgan Stanley, Virgin Money, Tesco Bank, RBS and JP Morgan
- Your business will benefit from a dynamic fintech community due to its close connections between companies, academia and investors
- You’ll be part of a dynamic, innovative fintech centre which promotes partnership between industry and academia to achieve innovation and develop capabilities. For example, Edinburgh Napier University collaborates closely with the financial services sector on security, launching its Cyber Academy last year
- You can access CodeClan, Scotland’s first digital skills academy. It will provide your business with training opportunities across many technology sectors, including fintech via a 16-week accredited course
London fintech firms can partner with universities which can be an excellent source of start-ups. ZoneFox is an innovative cyber security firm that spun out of Napier University’s School of Computing. The company’s software monitors and records activity to detect potential insider security breaches in real time.
It received £650,000 from investors, including funds from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), the investment arm of business support agency, Scottish Enterprise. Also, Edinburgh University provides essential technology skills, training and qualification through its School of Informatics, the largest in Europe.
Fintech-enabled disruption in Scotland
New challengers in financial services are opening up many opportunities which include:
- cyber security firms;
- branchless banking;
- crowd-sourced business lending;
- mobile and wearable payment devices;
- digital identity verification and biometrics;
- personal privacy/data protection; and
- mobile point-of-sale hardware.