Square, Inc., is a financial services and mobile payment company based in San Francisco, Calif. It was founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey. Square markets software and hardware payments products, which includes Square Reader and Square Register. It has also expanded into small business services, a financing program and a person-to-person payment service. Square has received praise for its products, with Business Insider complimenting it for its “ease of use, simplicity and elegance.” The company’s first app and service was launched in 2010.
<p>Belonging to the financial sector means this company will be affected directly and indirectly by a number of disruptive opportunities and challenges over the coming decades. While described in detail within Quantumrun’s special reports, these disruptive trends can be summarized along the following broad points:</p>
<p>*First off, the shrinking cost and increasing computational capacity of artificial intelligence systems will lead to its greater use across a number of applications within the financial world—from AI trading, wealth management, accounting, financial forensics, and more. All regimented or codified tasks and professions will see greater automation, leading to dramatically reduced operating costs and sizeable layoffs of white-collar employees.<br />
*Blockchain technology will be co-opted and integrated into the established banking system, significantly reducing transaction costs and automating complex contract agreements.<br />
*Financial technology (FinTech) companies that operate entirely online and offer specialized and cost-effective services to consumer and business clients will continue to erode the client base of larger institutional banks.<br />
*Physical currency will disappear in much of Asia and Africa first due to each region’s limited exposure to credit card systems and early adoption of internet and mobile payment technologies. Western countries will gradually follow suit. Select financial institutions will act as intermediaries for mobile transactions, but will see increasing competition from tech companies who operate mobile platforms—they will see an opportunity to offer payment and banking services to their mobile users, thereby cutting out traditional banks.<br />
*Growing income inequality throughout the 2020s will lead to an increase in fringe political parties winning elections and encouraging stricter financial regulations.</p>