One of the most demanding qualities of modern technology is speed. If you’re designing something that you want people to use, it is essential that it completes its function fast and efficiently. When it comes to financial technology there is little room for error. That is why Ireland’s Silicon Docks have become home to dozens of homegrown and international companies looking for a capital to call their own.

We’ve come a long way from having to use either cash or a cheque to complete almost every daily transaction. The idea of signing a piece of paper with an agreed sum of money in an almost IOU style seems alien nowadays, particularly amongst an ever growing younger generations.

Ever since the introduction of debit cards by Irish banks in 1996, the use of electronic payment methods has become increasingly popular throughout the consumer community. This convenient and safer way of personal money management gave way for a faster and more secure experience for consumers and sellers alike.

Following the anticipated success of the introduction of electronic money, numerous entrepreneurs worldwide saw the opportunities that accompanied e-money. This period experienced a dramatic movement in the foundation of technologies to further the advancement of how we use money. These financial technologies – commonly known throughout the international community as fintech – have been hailed for their disruption and evolution of the financial and technological world. They refer to any digital method of payments, lending, investment, accounting and more.

Ireland is no stranger to this. Following the economic downturn of 2008, recent years have welcomed healthy increase in consumer expenditure, and the fear of investment has begun to soften.

The fintech market has no doubt benefited from this rehabilitation of investment, and Irish consumers have certainly benefited from the rise of the fintech market. Ireland has seen the birth of dozens of now internationally recognised fintech startups, including Fire, Stripe, Uphold, Elavon, One4All and many, many more. Although fintech is a very popular trend in the recent technosphere, financial giants such as PayPal are experts of the trade, with almost 20 years in the business. PayPal, originally a subsidiary of eBay, allows users to complete transactions without sharing their personal banking details, thus removing the fear of falling victim to online banking fraud.

But it’s not all about how long you’ve been playing the game; it’s about how you play the game. With recognition as one the most influential players in the history of international financial technology, it’s fair to say that PayPal know how to play the game.

Although being formed in the United States, PayPal currently has offices spread across each corner of the earth, including Ireland.

As Ireland is witnessing a surge in the financial technology industry and the fascination with the industry continues, PayPal are now facing the tough task of having to adjust and develop their strategies and features to combat the populating fintech community.

Dublin Tech Summit guest speaker Louise Phelan has been an integral part of the PayPal team in Ireland since 2006. Since 2012, Ms. Phelan has been the Vice President of Global Operations for PayPal, and will be speaking about the future of money and her experience working with one of the world’s leading fintech companies at DTS on February 15th & 16th 2017.

With the obsession showing no signs of dispersing, does Ireland have what it takes to become the home of financial technology? To know this, it’s important to ask what does it take; an economy on the rise? A strong relationship with the international community? A renowned capital city?

The endless number of applications for the fintech industry has without question reshaped the way we think about money, but what’s next for the trend? And what’s next for Ireland?

Evan O’Gorman