Top 10 Most Influential Projects in Finance
After more than a decade of planning, 12 European countries and 300 million eurozone residents made the seamless switch—on a single day in 2002—to what is now the second-most-used currency in the world.
In 1971, Nasdaq became the first stock market to replace a traditional trading floor with an automated network of computers. The move set the standard for modern trading and propelled Nasdaq to become the world's second-largest stock market (behind only the New York Stock Exchange).
The original cryptocurrency, Bitcoin both disrupted the status quo of the global economic structure and sparked a flurry of crypto-copycats, including projects from startups as well as tech giants like Facebook and Samsung.
4 Shanghai Stock Exchange
A potent symbol of China claiming capitalism on its own terms, the exchange reopened for trading in 1990—more than 40 years after closing with the Communist revolution. Many of the country's largest state-owned and privately held companies flock to the exchange, which has grown to become the largest in the country and the fourth largest in the world.
The 2007 launch of this text-messaging-fueled peer-to-peer app gave millions in Kenya access to banking options for the first time, fundamentally changing the nation's economy and creating a blueprint for other emerging nations and mobile banking overall.
If China wins the race to become the world's first cashless economy, it will be in large part due to Alibaba's Alipay. Since its smooth launch in 2004, the service has grown into one of the world's largest mobile payment platform, with 870 million users.
When this finance app became available in 2009, it made peer-to-peer mobile payments an expectation for the social media generation. With 40 million users, Venmo—now owned by PayPal—dominates the U.S. market, expected to handle an estimated US$100 billion in transactions in 2019.
8 Index Fund
When Jack Bogle, founder of investment firm The Vanguard Group, created the world's first index fund in 1976, it was largely mocked by others in the industry, who nicknamed it “Bogle's Folly.” But Vanguard had the last laugh. In the years that followed, index funds—which track the holdings of an index, such as the S&P 500—have made their mark by making investing easier, more accessible and more profitable for millions.
Buying and selling stocks from a personal computer used to seem like sci-fi. E-Trade made it not only possible but a routine occurrence, launching the first consumer-friendly online trading application in 1991. The project helped to bring at-home trading to 20 percent of households, with the company accounting for 4.9 million brokerage accounts in 2018.
Now the gold standard for credit card security, the EMV chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again, making payments more secure around the world. Initially a joint effort among Europay, Mastercard and Visa, EMV attracted additional credit card companies by the time it launched in 1994.