The struggles of learning about controversial technology: fintech

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Over the past five years, it has felt like I’ve been hearing the same buzzwords: “fintech” “cryptocurrency” “blockchain”.

As it felt like everyone around me was talking about them, I joined so many others to try to embark on a journey to understand what the heck is fintech and do I need to jump on the bandwagon?

I found myself in an interesting situation because I would spend hours googling vague questions, anything from “how does bitcoin work?” to “is fintech safe?” and reading articles from both side. Large publications seemed to be screaming that cryptocurrency and fintech was a scam and should be avoided at all costs. Then there were small bloggers or gurus who were explaining how to get rich quick by trading crypto. All the while, I had people around me who were working in the industry so would talk on end about how deceitful publications were because fintech represented deviation to the status quo, and therefore their cushy bonuses.

Despite the confusing messaging, I pressed on and attempted to learn more about the space. The more I learned, the more I realised that a number of my apps were fintech based. It was all so interesting how this technology was impacting my life behind the scenes, yet so many people were still sceptical. What it represented to me was a new way for me to interact with my finances and take back some control. It seemed so simple, and I couldn’t understand why more people weren’t adopting the technology. It seemed like so many western publications had an agenda to breakdown fintech and continue pushing a narrative of fear. But as I did a bit more investigating, I watched as it was growing quickly in third world countries and were peaking in Asia. Despite its obvious growth, all I saw in the mainstream media was how it was just a fad.

Like every person who just discovered a “revolutionary” new product, I told everyone around me about how amazing this all was. They too had heard the buzzwords so would nod along, only perking up when I would mention a service that they were familiar with. All I wanted to do was learn more about the space. But that’s where I found myself at a crossroad.

While I would in no means call myself a technical person, I know enough to be a techie. So when it came to learning more about fintech and its applications I started investigating and assumed it would be an easy journey. But I found a few resources that ticked all the boxes when it came to educating myself. I was a freelance video editor at the time, so I didn’t have copious amounts of time that I could dedicate to enrol in a course, nor did I want to spend a pretty penny on these university backed courses. Thinking that maybe this was just my millennial mind being lazy, I took a few free classes and would find myself zoning out as I read long article after long article, or listened to some emotionless professor drone on about the history of fintech.

So I moved on to reading crypto and fintech publications. But since I was new to the space, I would read articles and stop every few paragraphs to google words and concepts that I had no understanding of. Often leading me to have a window of 20+ tabs open as I tirelessly hopped between them trying to break everything down. It wasn’t an intuitive approach to self-teaching.

Next, I attempted YouTube. I was already subscribed to an excessive number of channels that taught me anything and everything as if I was studying for every pub quiz possible. So since I had a history with this kind of learning, including editing educational content myself, I thought this was the jackpot. Off I went watching videos, but the problem was that I would bounce around watching content that all responded to the same prompt but gave me different answers. I didn’t know who to believe.

I thought that at this point, my only realistic option was to talk to people in the space. Surely they’d be happy to indulge my curiosity since I wanted to find a way to enter the space. Yet I was met with people looking down their nose at me. They would start intrigued that I was interested until I explained that I was from a creative background and had no technical experience. Once they realised my inexperience, I felt like I was locked out of some members-only club.

It saddened me because I saw all the positive the technology was doing. The way it offered affordable rates for overseas workers to send money home through remittance apps or how it was helping farmers protect their produce. The technology presented a way to grow people’s financial literacy which is one of the more effective ways to help people get out of poverty. But I felt like I could only watch from afar and hope that more people could understand the positives of fintech. It seemed like so many western sources were still rejecting the idea of fintech, yet as I looked a bit closer I saw the growing rates of adoption in third-world countries and smaller markets.

After all of this discouragement, I flicked through Spotify in search of some music to pick me up. As I scrolled through endless playlists, I wished that there was a platform like this for fintech education. But one that wasn’t filled with dry articles and emotionless videos. A single source that made learning about fintech and its applications not only simple but visually compelling. So that’s where I’m at now. Still trying to kick down the door into the fintech space any way I can with a platform that is still in its beta phase, but determined to share the knowledge to anyone else who just wants to learn something new.

What [fintech] represented to me was a new way for me to interact with my finances and take back some control. It seemed so simple, and I couldn’t understand why more people weren’t adopting the technology.


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