Published: Jan 26, 2018 10:58 a.m. ET Cryptocurrencies aren’t going to change the world, Nouriel Roubini says NEW YORK (Project Syndicate) — The financial-services industry has been undergoing a revolution. But the driving force is not overhyped blockchain applications such as bitcoin.

It is a revolution built on artificial intelligence, big data, and the internet of things. Already, thousands of real businesses are using these technologies to disrupt every aspect of financial intermediation.

Dozens of online-payment services — PayPal, Alipay, WeChat Pay, Venmo, and so forth — have hundreds of millions of daily users. And financial institutions are making precise lending decisions in seconds rather than weeks, thanks to a wealth of online data on individuals and firms. With time, such data-driven improvements in credit allocation could even eliminate cyclical credit-driven booms and busts.

Similarly, insurance underwriting, claims assessment and management, and fraud monitoring have all become faster and more precise. And actively managed portfolios are increasingly being replaced by passive robo-advisers, which can perform just as well or better than conflicted, high-fee financial advisers.

Now, compare this real and ongoing fintech revolution with the record of blockchain, which has existed for almost a decade, and still has only one application: cryptocurrencies. Blockchain’s boosters would argue that its early days resemble the early days of the internet, before it had commercial applications. Read more from…

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