London
24 January 2017
Reporter: Stephanie Palmer

Not the blockchain it wants, the blockchain it needs


Financial services require their own blockchains to suit their specific needs, according to speakers at Blockchain Week in London.

Griffin Anderson, head of blockchain accounting at Consensys, said that 2018 will be the “breakout year” for the technology. This is when institutions will start putting real blockchain solutions into practice to improve business processes, he said

Anderson also suggested that “almost all” Fortune 500 companies will likely have a business process that can be transformed by blockchain, but that each will require slightly different functionalities.

Megan Reynolds, business development manager at Crowdcube, agreed that distributed ledger technology is still in its early stages, although there has been a focus on the technology itself rather than on the market for it.

“It’s an amazing technology that is without a market,” she said, adding that, particularly for start-ups seeking crowdfunding, “we will have to see that first”.

Similarly, Richard Muirhead, general partner at OpenOcean, noted that it can be difficult for technology start-ups to identify the market they are targeting.

He said: “It takes a lot of work and luck to find the right combination of capabilities and features. It’s as much about what you leave out as what you include.”

Looking to future uses of blockchain and distributed ledger technology, Anderson suggested that the first ‘tokenised’ assets have begun to arrive that represent “ownership of an underlying entity”.

This, Anderson suggested, can be applied to fungible assets but also to non-fungible assets such as vehicles. Tokenising assets “changes that marketplace as people adopt digital assets and trade them” and can “really add a lot of liquidity in the market”.

Consensys is in the early stages of working on this, he said, adding: “It’s going to be a really fun ride.”

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