Support globally is growing for digital finance ecosystem startups, entrepreneurs, and investor communities that are
- integrating distributed digital banking, mobile transactions and cryptocurrency solutions and delivery platforms; to support
- participation in the emerging digital economy market areas such as microfinance, peer-to-peer lending, diaspora remittances, socially & environmentally motivated initiatives, etc.
Digital finance is a new and emerging area of finance, which encompasses the areas of financial technology, digital payment systems, and digital financial products such as digital derivatives, digital securities, digital carbon credits, and a wide variety of digital forms of traditional financial products.
Our purpose is to develop a deeper understanding of the evolving area of digital finance and to provide leadership in digital finance in the commercial, public, and social sectors that will guide policy, investment decisions and support financial technology (fintech) innovation and job creation in Canada in this area.
The Opportunity for Canada
The digitalization of the economy is growing at a phenomenal rate, impacting and challenging the way we conduct financial transactions. In 2012, a total of 22.2 million megabits of data crossed the global economy involving $4 trillion in digital financial transactions among 194 million people. (Source: World Bank, IMF, Thomson Innovation, McKinsey Global Institute.) If the spread of digital technology in finance and rising prosperity continues, the global flows will triple by 2025, boosting economic growth. (McKinsey Global Institute Report, 2014.)
Digitization of the financial sector is transformative because it reduces costs of services and distribution and creates purely digital financial products and services, some of which are entirely new, and others of which may not be new but are delivered on international digital platforms that are new. These technological changes create significant new opportunities for new financial technology for Canada, and many new opportunities for governments and companies to drive growth and innovation, opening the door to greater participation by entrepreneurs.
These changes put pressure on governments to consider how their economies should participate and how they can enable participation through the right business environment and regulation, and ways in which they can capitalize on the global shift to digital finance. There will need to be new investments and focused policy to embrace the increasingly digitization of finance to consider a wide-range of untested issues.
Currently, there are no global regulatory regimes or regulatory infrastructures that address digital finance, including how machine-to-machine digital financial transactions will be regulated in the Internet of Things world. Canada has an opportunity to step in and take a leadership role in this area.