FinTech, the financial technology industry: a trendy and cool universe which draws the attention of market players, intermediaries and clients. Indeed a wide range of different concepts, technologies, applications, processes and solutions, as the FinTech applies to various subjects:

  • the makers of programs and tech solutions, specialized entities, start-ups
  • the users, such as operators and intermediaries: banks, portfolio and asset managers, analysts, advisors, and the like
  • the end-users, the clients



The Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) has defined some main areas within the FinTech macrosystem:

Person-to-person transfers via mobile devices
Digital currencies – Cryptocurrencies

Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine learning
Digitalized Back Office
Robot Advisory – Computerized Financial Consultancy
Computerized Trading
Securities Settlement – High Speed and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Transactions

Authentication, compliance, KYC procedures
Security – Encryption
Deed editing via smartphone with predefined patters, without intermediaries

Non-traditionsl capital raising
Crowdfunding and micro-loans
Direct P2P-B2B loans
Sharing Economy
Digital assessment of credit risks
Computerized Risk Management

The Blockchain technology is just at the core of the FinTech: a platform of distributed and open databases with decentralized services, also able to operate with cryptocurrencies, make transfers, automatically execute predefined instructions, with no intervention of third parties, and automatically recorded.

Blockchain lastingly records any transactions, but also it guarantees decentralization, transparency and privacy, as when using Bitcoins.

Bitcoin, as well as other cryptocurrencies, works with private “keys” and adresses. Actually anyone can create his own “account” and order transactions from it. The change of traditional moneys into cryptocurrencies takes place on web sites or via special ATM’s.

The Ethereum platform is even more futuristic. It is being joined by banks from several countries, and makes transactions more efficient and hugely faster, just some seconds as compared with the minutes that Bitcoin needs.

Opportunities and challanges

Despite its many opportunities, the FinTech also poses some challanges:

  • the need for global common regulations
  • the risk of disintermediation, e.g. the decreased roles of traditional intermediaries, even their by-passing
  • the dimmed role of the Central Banks in controlling the new waves of “monetary supplies”
  • the protection of privacy
  • the definition of a “digital identity”
  • the compliance procedures in the light of the new Blockchain environment
  • the security against cheats, embezzlements, cyber-attacks, data and identity steals (phishing)

On the other hand the FinTech offers huge potentials in increasing the financial services’ efficiency, creating new ones and new services for all customer segments. FinTech will likely take to job losses in the short time, but will nevertheless be able to generate new skilled pofessional figures in the longer run.

Regulating FinTech

Also in Switzerland banking and money laundering rules, as well as the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) itself look forward to the FinTech developments, joining the stance already taken by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF-GAFI) and other international institutions. The Swiss Banking Association too is most interested in such trends and their promotion.
The changes in the banking ordinance, in force since August 1, 2017, reduces the operational obstacles for the tech-financial companies, and allows them to collect funds for operations which are to be executed in the next 60 days (e.g. in the case of crowdfunding).

The collection of public funds up to the amount of one million Swiss Francs will be exempted from authorization, provided that the company informs its clients about the lack of guarantee on their deposits. Such facilitations also apply to the traditional financial institutions engaging in tech-finance activities.

A new kind of authorization is provided for the companies which collect public funds up to 100 million Swiss Francs but do not engage in any investment activities.

FinTech and the Canton Ticino

The Canton Ticino aims at becoming a major FinTech center, firstly thanks to its long financial tradition. Moreover it enjoys a vocation for research and technological innovation, with many leading positions at international level, within an environment of multilinguism, global contacts, first class logistics and high security levels.

The Università della Svizzera Italiana, the SUPSI with its center specializing in advanced technologies and star-up incubators, the Centro di Studi Bancari and other private-public mixed institutions, such as Ticino for Finance, all of them make the Canton Ticino an ideal place for growing the finance of tomorrow, in the area of Blockchain, the creation of algorithms and sophisticated programs for the market operators as well as cryptocurrencies.