On my twitter feed, I decided to do a bit of year end fun by asking folks which of four key developments: whether they be in open banking, AI/machine learning, digital currencies or quantum computing/big data, would prove to have been most significant for 2019.

Interestingly, respondents to the poll exhibited an overwhelming sense that the most significant advances in the fintech ecosystem in 2019 came from digital currencies. Indeed, among the four options I presented, 54.2 percent of respondents thought digital currencies would prove most consequential, followed by quantum computing and big data at 17.6 percent, AI/machine learning at 16.2 percent, and open banking at 12 percent.

I’m a little practical about these kinds of things and attribute the results in part to the fact that crypto-Twitter is a real thing, with the social media app as the tool of choice for communication among many die-hards. So more digital currency buffs may be following me, or have come across the retweets. But the lead was still striking.

But that wasn’t the only thing that caught my eye.  What was equally interesting was how, once one moves beyond digital currencies, the relative significance of developments in other areas was anyone’s guess. Quantum computing and big data did not garner a perceptively larger sense of significance than AI and machine learning. Open banking was a bit distant, but by no means viewed as irrelevant.

In the end, this kind of batched grouping seems to suggest a general sense that the future, too, is anyone’s guess, as is the ultimate impact of any of these emerging technologies on finance and financial regulation. And that the absence of predictability should be expected and continue for the foreseeable future. After all, given the very interconnectivity of the various trends in the industry, some technologies may not get to the finish line of market dominance, or even acceptance, without continuing innovation in the other nooks and crannies of the fintech ecosystem.

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