Financial technology (FinTech or fintech) is the new technology and innovation that aims to compete with traditional financial methods in the delivery of financial services. FinTech is a new industry that uses technology to improve activities in finance. The use of smartphones for mobile banking, investing services and cryptocurrency are examples of technologies aiming to make financial services more accessible to the general public. Financial technology companies consist of both startups and established financial and technology companies trying to replace or enhance the usage of financial services provided by existing financial companies.
Financial services are the economic services provided by the finance industry, which encompasses a broad range of businesses that manage money, including credit unions, banks, credit-card companies, insurance companies, accountancy companies, consumer-finance companies, stock brokerages, investment funds, individual managers and some government-sponsored enterprises. Financial services companies are present in all economically developed geographic locations and tend to cluster in local, national, regional and international financial centers such as London, New York City, and Tokyo.
A blockchain, originally block chain, is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, a blockchain is inherently resistant to modification of the data. It is "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way". For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for inter-node communication and validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority.
Blockchains are secure by design and exemplify a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance. Decentralized consensus has therefore been achieved with a blockchain. This makes blockchains potentially suitable for the recording of events, medical records, and other records management activities, such as identity management, transaction processing, documenting provenance, food traceability or voting.
Blockchain was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 for use in the cryptocurrency bitcoin, as its public transaction ledger. The invention of the blockchain for bitcoin made it the first digital currency to solve the double-spending problem without the need of a trusted authority or central server. The bitcoin design has been the inspiration for other applications.