As we look to a New Year, it is hard to say what 2017 has in store thanks to the level of uncertainty that 2016 leaves in its wake. One thing for certain, however, is that 2017 is set to be an eventful and thrilling ride for FinTech with many factors and potential obstacles on the horizon which still challenge the sector. In today's society people are effectively running their whole lives from their mobiles: reading the news, online banking, heating their home and maintaining relationships. Payments are a part of that so it is expected that the numbers to climb further next year. Smartphone sales are reaching saturation point in developed markets, and the growth of technology adoption today are now firmly fixated on emerging and developing nations.
Since the introduction of the first credit card with a magnetic stripe in 1966, financial technology has come a long way. Silicon Valley may not have birthed the term "fintech", but it has certainly helped catapult its applications into the mainstream. Leveraging everything from basic apps to the blockchain, the changing dynamics of fintech are creating new investment opportunities everyday, growing its appetite with every new megadeal. Today's graphic from Raconteur highlights the global growth of the fintech industry, the services with the most staying power, and major M&A developments of the past year as traditional institutions scramble to deal with this digital disruption. Over the past five years, digitally-enabled financial technology services have delivered convenient and cheaper access to financial services to millions of consumers.
As fintech disruptors change how everything works, banks and financial institutions are either partnering with them or developing and deploying their own solutions. With the world becoming one enormous marketplace, we have seen a constant change in how businesses take place. This has been further fueled by new technologies and rapidly evolving customer expectations. Even the highly regulated banking and finance sector has in recent times witnessed the constant metamorphosis of its business models to stay ahead in disruptive times. When it comes to the financial services ecosystem, the fintech industry plays a significant role in determining how the sector moves forward.
This time last year, the crypto bull market stole the spotlight. In the midst of bitcoin's wild run, we announced the Matrix FinTech Index in recognition of the top 10 publicly traded U.S. fintechs quietly surpassing $100 billion in total market capitalization. We predicted that in 2018, the fintechs would prove to be the more relevant disruptors and their equity value would continue to outpace the incumbents. As we look back, this prediction proved to be true. The market cap of the Matrix FinTech Index grew 50 percentage points in 2018, far outpacing the incumbent financial service giants and the S&P 500.