Envisioning emerging technologies affecting the future of finance


By transforming how we exchange, count & store money, digital technology is fundamentally rewiring the financial sector. 

Cryptographic currencies and distributed ledger technologies have proved scaleable, leading the way to more decentralized economies. We refer to this as the Cryptographic Economy, or Cryptonomy for short.

To illustrate the factors causing this change, we have documented hundreds of emerging technologies and organizations related to the financial sector. We visualize research findings through an interactive interface, and perform quantitative assessment using crowd and expert intelligence.

Our aim is to raise awareness about the future financial sector, spark conversation and generate insight. 



Technology is everything we create

Tools and techniques have amplified what is humanly possible, redefining our place in nature. Technologies taken for granted today would have been indistinguishable from magic mere decades ago. 

Our research identifies technologies capable of affecting the financial industry. These have been organized as 6 areas of interest.

We believe the path into the future is paved with technology.
Here is our roadmap.



Areas of Interest

The research is organized in six collections of related technologies.

Money is how we trade value. Since society is slowly changing to more intangible forms of currency - such as attention and intention - new types of currencies are emerging.  To validate these new economies, authentication via blockchain is booming in contrast to centralized models. 

Once a unique role of institutions like banks and governments, authentication can now be done through the network via blockchain. With trades  mainly happening online, new cybersecurity tools based on machine learning are emerging to react to more sophisticated attacks.

People make financial decisions based values and experience. New forms of agents attempt to interpret needs and assist individuals in achieving goals by providing algorithmic intelligence.

Biometric sensors are quickly being applied for authentication processes, creating faster and more secure transactions. With remote validation becoming commonplace, physical agencies will be unnecessary in the near future.

Cheaper sensors lead to more data and, consequently, more intelligence. By better understanding the environment we live in, financial and market decisions can become smarter.

With networks providing  resources and security, new platforms are able to reduce insurance costs by decreasing the role of the middle-men. At the same time, tracking things - and people - is becoming easier than ever, which is leading to new insurance models. 



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Patterns and trends.

1. Disintermediation

  • New fintech players appearing daily;
  • Technologies instantly replicated across geographic boundaries;
  • Entrants nibbling on incumbent markets, hindering growth.

2. Consolidation

  • Clients largely not changing financial habits;
  • Startups challenged in raising valuation from limited growth;
  • Incumbents innovate by acquiring startups.


3. Adaptation

  • Incumbent business models remain unchanged;
  • Incumbents slow at learning what makes startups successful;
  • Acculturation becomes roadblock for updating business practices.



Technology changes at an accelerating pace. Understanding how it evolves requires new frameworks and tools. We create tools for documenting and tracking emerging technology. In a world where technology increasingly affects society, we aim to show what's ahead.

The result is a highly interactive visualization tool, designed to convey complex data in a meaningful way.

  • 128+ technologies
    Descriptions, images and illustrations

  • Readiness & impact level

  • 256+ related attachments
    Sources and further reading

  • 256+ related organizations
    Startups and academic institutions




In a sense, every technology begins as an idea. Some spring from academic insights, some generated in R&D projects, while others can be found in the pages of science fiction. Ideas are found anywhere from sketchbooks to spec-sheets. Technology draws from the public imagination before becoming a reality.

Some of these ideas are further developed into concepts, beginning an experimental life of increased application. Some concepts become prototypes, tested at scale. Some prototypes eventually become products, bringing availability to the public.

A technology can take anywhere from a year to a decade to shift phase. Some develop slowly (think biotech and nanotech) while other move rapidly (think IT and mobile). Some are greatly affected by factors like regulation, while others move swiftly under the radar.

Regardless of speed, technologies progress through each phase in order. Most technologies never reach the product phase, but they invariably begin as ideas. Occasionally, organizations developing the technology fail to keep it a viable business (think Concorde) while the technology remains alive, eventually returning as a new business (see boom.aero).

Envisioning employs crowdsourcing to devise a virtual yardstick that measures the invisible line between an idea and its manifestation as a product.




Envisioning Team




Cryptonomy is a collaboration between Envisioning and Innotribe.
The project was unveiled at Sibos 2016 in Geneva on 26 September.


Workshop video (90m)