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Fintech, a portmanteau of ‘financial technology,’ is used describe new tech that seeks to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services. ​​​At its core, fintech is utilized to help companies, business owners and consumers better manage their financial operations, processes and lives by utilizing specialized software and algorithms that are used on computers and, increasingly, smartphones. When fintech emerged in the 21st Century, the term was initially applied to technology employed at the back-end systems of established financial institutions. ​Since then, however, there has been a shift to more consumer-oriented services and therefore a more consumer-oriented definition. Fintech has expanded to include any technological innovation in — and automation of — the financial sector, including advances in financial literacy, advice and education, as well as streamlining of wealth management, lending and borrowing, retail banking, fundraising, money transfers/payments, investment management and more. Fintech also includes the development and use of crypto-currencies such as bitcoin. That segment of fintech may see the most headlines, the big money still lies in the traditional global banking industry and its $8 trillion market capitalization.

A blockchain is a digitized, decentralized, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. Constantly growing as ‘completed’ blocks (the most recent transactions) are recorded and added to it in chronological order, it allows market participants to keep track of digital currency transactions without central recordkeeping. Each node (a computer connected to the network) gets a copy of the blockchain, which is downloaded automatically.