Thursday, 1 October 2015

(Survey) Blockin' all over the world: Is Blockchain all it's cracked up to be?

Blockchain focused start-ups are springing up like mushrooms after the rain, and the big banks all seem to be investing in this space. But is this just a ‘fashion craze’ (loom bands, anyone?) and the big guys just want to show that they are technologically advanced and forward-looking, whilst the new guys want to cash in quick before the world moves on to the next big thing?

A New York-based blockchain start-up, R3CEV, has recently got the backing of nine major investment banks, RBS, UBS, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Chase among them. Another US greenfield firm, Chain, has got $30 million from the likes of Visa, Nasdaq and Fiserv.

Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered, Barclays and BNP Paribas are among those proclaiming their interest and investment in blockchain technology. And even the UK’s central bank, The Bank of England, says that central banks are examining the implementation of hybrid systems involving blockchain and its distributed ledger technology.

You could argue that such heavyweights can afford it, even if nothing comes to pass. Many of these probably spend more on the annual bonuses of their top execs.

And yet... is there a genuine business case? If you add all the regulation and mitigate all the systemic, market, business and other relevant risks, does blockchain really add that much? Perhaps all these experimenting with blockchain will start to show just that.

Those with longer memories might recall bold declarations that the internet would replace Swift (take the phrase and adjust it for today: blockchain will replace Swift). And telcos and mobiles were going to replace banking, remember?

For the banking world (which is traditionally seen as a laggard when it comes to innovation) to at least try and evolve with the times is commendable, of course. However, most people tend to overestimate the pace of change. So let us not get carried away.

What do you think? Take out survey below to tell us your thoughts on bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrency.

By Tanya Andreasyan
Create your own user feedback survey

No comments:

Post a Comment