Paul Volcker, the acclaimed former chairman of the Federal Reserve, famously questioned the value of financial innovation. He said he saw the point of the automated teller machine ("more of a mechanical innovation than a financial one"), but that was about it. Financial innovation was an unproductive competition for excess profit and a cause of instability.
If Volcker is right, we'll soon have another problem on our hands, because a new wave of financial innovation is forming. This one could sweep over traditional banking, traditional payments systems, even the traditional idea of money. You think exotic asset-backed securities were a big deal? That was nothing.