FintekNews is pleased to offer our readers our “3 Questions With…” column, where we chat with a thought leader within a unique sector of fintech and ask them to answer just 3 questions for our audience in their vernacular. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Maryanne Morrow of 9th Gear Technologies, which utilizes blockchain technology to increase transparency for regulators and ensure availability of funds, while reducing capital requirements to better serve traders and lenders.
Name: Maryanne Morrow
Title: CEO and Founder
Firm: 9th Gear Technologies
What does your firm do/offer within the fintech sector?
9th Gear Technologies is the only B2B institutional marketplace that enables same day Foreign Exchange (FX) transactions with a peer to peer lending capability. 9th Gear increases both trading and payments liquidity and offer greater transparency, reduced risk and lower cost to significantly more participants.
Through a digital transformation of the backend, 9th Gear has re-imagined the FX transaction, moving from today’s process where a handful of global banks dominate the industry and trades take two days to settle, to a process that is open to brand new participants and can be completed in minutes. 9th Gear leverages the smart contracts and distributed ledger of a private permissioned blockchain to transform this $5.1 trillion daily industry.
What do you believe the next major innovation in financial technology will be and why?
The future of fintech is the ability to move funds instantly between accounts facilitated by blockchain technology. This innovative approach to trade has the potential to transform payment systems globally and eliminate the complex and expensive web of correspondent banks – therefore lowering risk and cost.
Banks bring with them substantial risk in the funds-transfer business and charge handsomely for their services. High fees and unnecessary risk make the trade sector ripe for much-needed innovation, including leveraging blockchain digital ledgers and immutable smart contracts for safer, faster trading. This innovation will also enable an easier transition to banking for the unbanked, which is an interesting corollary to the central issue of more easily moving money around the world.
What are the biggest problems facing the fintech industry in the future?
As technology continues to evolve, security must be at the forefront of our minds. The fintech industry is well-placed to address questions of personal information, its security, ownership and portability, notably via emerging technologies like blockchain. As recent controversies regarding the collection and sale of personal information by social media platforms make evident, this process is just beginning.
Fintech companies continue to roll out new products and ideas, and as they do these issues will need to be well under control or eradicated, otherwise new products will likely have a difficult time gaining acceptance. We have already seen government regulators step into the space, adding restrictions on data collection and use, but eventually the question will need to be addressed directly by individuals.
One possible future scenario could include personal information becoming a form of currency, or, at the very least, a monetizable asset for individuals. Fintech companies need to be leading this process. If they fail to do so large, current platforms – such as Facebook and Google – will be able to use their current market dominance in social media and search to help write regulations favorable to themselves, and by definition unfavorable to upstarts. This would prevent fintech companies from expanding into an area with global reach and needs.
Maryanne brings more than 20 years as a corporate veteran in the financial, marketing and advertising industries to her role as founder and CEO of 9th Gear Technologies where she is responsible for leading corporate strategy, scaling the company and investor relations. She is a mutual funds specialist, launching a family of funds and architecting fee-based asset management platforms for banks, broker dealers and insurance firms. She was involved in two successful exits (to Standard & Poor’s and BNP Paribas), and also consulted on the custom content and advertising efforts of many financial firms while working at The Wall Street Journal. Maryanne is an active angel investor and an expert on blockchain, ICOs and cryptocurrency.