The Evolution of FinTech:
A New Post-Crisis Paradigm?
Douglas W. Arner*
Ross P. Buckley***
“Financial technology” or “FinTech” refers to technology enabled financial solutions.
FinTech is often seen today as the new marriage of financial services and information
technology. However, the interlinkage of finance and technology has a long history and has
evolved over three distinct eras. FinTech 1.0, from 1866 to 1987, was the first period of
financial globalization supported by technological infrastructure such as transatlantic
transmission cables. This was followed by FinTech 2.0, from 1987-2008, during which
financial services firms increasingly digitized their processes. Since 2008 a new era of
FinTech has emerged in both the developed and developing world. This era is defined not by
the financial products or services delivered but by who delivers them. This latest evolution of
FinTech, led by start-ups, poses challenges for regulators and market participants alike,
particularly in balancing the potential benefits of innovation with the possible risks of new
Professor, Co-Director, Duke-HKU Asia America Institute in Transnational Law, and Member, Board of
Management, Asian Institute of International Financial Law, Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong.
Senior Research Fellow, Asian Institute of International Financial Law, Faculty of Law, University of Hong
Kong; and Founder, FinTech HK.
CIFR King & Wood Mallesons Chair of International Financial Law, Scientia Professor, and Member,
Centre for Law, Markets & Regulation, UNSW Australia.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the the Hong Kong Research Grants Council
Theme-based Research Scheme (Enhancing Hong Kong’s Future as a Leading International Financial Centre)
and the Australian Research Council Linkage Grant Scheme (Regulating a Revolution: A New Regulatory
Model for Digital Finance).