Financial technology (fintech) is a rapidly growing industry that’s transforming traditional financial services. Stay up to date with the latest developments and prepare for technological disruption with an online short course from the University of Cape Town (UCT), which takes a holistic approach to the new financial ecosystem.

In the modern era, access to banking and financial services is critical for economic well-being, but these systems are largely unavailable to households in underdeveloped parts of the world. With the growing prevalence of mobile phones and access to the internet, there’s increasing potential to contribute to economic development and innovation through fintech. Fintech employs technology to improve, streamline, digitise, or disrupt traditional financial services.  As the adoption of fintech expands, so do opportunities for business innovation, especially in emerging markets like South Africa.

Fintech has the potential to provide new solutions to old problems, and has ignited an entrepreneurial culture of innovation as start-ups and businesses find ways to turn challenges into profitable ventures. Early adoption of fintech focused primarily on payment applications, but the technology is now being used in retail, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), and insurance contexts, sparking transformation throughout the value chain.

Finance and technology professionals, business decision-makers, and senior management can benefit from exploring the scope of the fintech ecosystem, learning how developments will impact their field, and discovering what can be done to prepare for a new financial landscape. Those who thrive in this field understand not just the technology, but also the relevant regulatory frameworks, methods for managing finances and transactions with customers, and the potential investment spaces. Up-to-date knowledge is invaluable if you want to take advantage of this disruptive technology in South Africa and other emerging markets around the world.

Cryptocurrencies, which are underpinned by blockchain technology, form a major part of the evolving financial landscape, with ledger-based applications such as Bitcoin and Ethereum adding transparency and security to financial services. There are five principles underlying blockchain technology: distributed databases, peer-to-peer transmission, transparency, static records, and computational logic. It’s easy to see why this revolutionary technology has implications far beyond financial services, offering opportunities to accelerate development through its accurate records, data privacy, and decentralised ledger system.

As the nascent technology of blockchain grows, so does the opportunity to disrupt industries. However, there are still problems inherent in this new ecosystem, including scalability and transaction time. Understanding how blockchain presently fits into the financial system and how applications can be used across a growing list of industries can set leaders up to capitalise on the rise of digital currencies. Insights into programmable money are relevant to individuals who want to diversify their investment portfolios by moving into crypto assets. Professionals from the financial services industry, particularly those in retail or investment banks, as well as government representatives and employees at commercial law firms and central banks, can benefit from an understanding of this groundbreaking technology, as well as its scope for application.

An online short course can ensure your skills are future-focused and relevant to the growing and competitive fields of fintech, blockchain, and digital currencies. Expand your knowledge and prepare for the opportunities of the digital future of finance, with newfound competencies backed by a certificate of completion from UCT.