The Tearsheet guide to fintech jargon for 2018

  • The world of financial technology is sounding like an increasingly niche space where jargon is becoming something of a currency
  • Our updated termsheet will help you cut through the noise to understand what everything really means

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The Tearsheet guide to fintech jargon for 2018

Another year gone by, and more inventive language to show for it.

Financial services felt technology’s invasion into the industry even more strongly in 2017, and it seems jargon has become more of a currency now than ever. The main players are getting better at talking about what they do and why — but they struggle with the how. So we’ve updated the Tearsheet term sheet with the latest in inventive language to catch up on as we head into 2018. We invite you to tweet us at @tearsheetco with any suggestions.

: fast
altcoin: a bitcoin alternative
accelerators: finishing school for startups
AI: “big data,” 2017 version
API: official permission to use someone else’s work
beta: we have no idea what we’re doing
big data: so 2012
biometrics: fingerprints
bitcoin: you’re kidding
bitcoin mining: computers are competing to get new bitcoins
blockchain: a very secure Excel sheet
co-creation: customer creation
central ledger: a really important blockchain run by really important people
chatbot: do I sound human yet?
conversational banking: you’re talking to something
consensus: when everyone agrees this is a thing
consumers: people
corporate VCs: attention startups: take our money, let us buy you later
cryptocurrency: digital currency for anarchists
chief culture officer: chief ping-pong table installer
decentralized autonomous organization: humans aren’t involved
democratize: lowering the barriers to entry, to get more customers
DLT: blockchain tech built with banker specs
enterprise: for businesses, not for lowly humans
future proofing: making sure your product isn’t a passing fad
digital ambassadors: bank tellers
digital identity: the real you
digital tokens: a way to raise money
digital wallet: your wallet on a phone, sans cash and ID
Jamie Dimon: he hates bitcoin but loves blockchain
disruptors: startups with big egos
ecosystem: we want everything you do to loop back to our family of products
ethereum: the new bitcoin
fail-fast-fail-often: fail
fintech: finance today
frictionless: easy
game changing: hoping you forgot the last time we did this
guests: people
high-tech-high-touch: we support both people and robots
ICO: kind of like an IPO, but using cryptocurrency
incubator: boarding school for disruptors
incumbents: grownup people
innovation lab: adult playground
innovative: (see: game changing)
insurtech: a bot will soon tell you your medical visit is not covered
machine learning: the machine that knows how to react when you yell at it
marketplace lending: you’re lending to or borrowing from a stranger through a website
native: you don’t need Safari or Chrome to use it
omnichannel: every channel
open banking: banks need to outsource creativity, via APIs
participants: real people
permissioned ledger: you need an invite to join this
PFM (personal finance management): balancing your checkbook
pivot: our first idea didn’t really pan out
post-app world: apps will die
proof of burn: you can’t spend your crypto
proof-of-concept: we’re waiting for the money to make this a thing
proof of stake: you’ve got skin in the game
proof of work: you’re mining
remittance: money that costs money to send home overseas
relationship building: when banks want to stalk you
revolutionary: hyped
robo-advisers: you’ll end up talking to humans
Satoshi Nakamoto: we don’t know if he exists, but he apparently designed bitcoin
smart contract: you don’t need to argue with real people
scale: grow
solution: experiment
sprints: not your average never-ending large-scale tech overhaul
surprise and delight: it’s kind of new and customers probably won’t hate it
test-and-learn: playtime for focus-groups
throughput: when input and output aren’t long-enough words
ubiquitous: everywhere
unicorn: those special startups in the Three Comma Club
users: people who downloaded our app once
VC: mom and dad
Venmo: how you stalk your ex
Watson: scary smart supercomputer
XaaS (anything as a service): using the Internet

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