London Blockchain Expo Day 2: HSBC, RBS blockchain specialists weigh in on the future of blockchain in banking

By Alara Basul | 26 January 2017

Developments in blockchain and how it can be implemented into different markets and industries was the primary focus of Day Two at the London Blockchain Expo. The main focus of the key note discussions and panels centred on securing blockchain applications, building partnerships to help grow financial services, and what the future holds for blockchain technology.

The fintech highlights were towards the end of the day, where two panel discussions explored the potential of distributed ledger technology for banking systems and the payments and revenue cycle.

The panel ‘Building partnerships to help grow financial services blockchain solutions’ saw industry experts Guy Halford-Thompson, CEO Blockchain Tech LTD, David Pinkski, Chief Strategist for Financial Innovation, Hitachi, Yiseul Cho, Blockchain Specialist, HSBC and Mark Simpson, Distinguished Engineer, Innovation Engineering, RBS debate on the topic of how cash management can be optimised. 

Discussing where blockchains fits into the payment infrastructure and the biggest cost saving factors, David Pinkski stated:

“Anytime there’s a trade processed, there’s a gap. Like any technology, blockchain has a place in that. The settlement following blockchain could be settled in a matter of minutes following this trade. The amount of capital will free up, especially ones that are tied up in float. Not only will it save costs but technology advances that companies can adopt early on.”

Another panel discussion which proved to be extremely interesting was on the future of blockchain and where the technology will be in 2030. Key takeaways from the talk were how businesses will move towards incorporating blockchain into their platforms and the global conception of using the platform will be considered a norm. The talk was moderated by Susan Furnell, Founder of Furnell Consult, and speakers included Pavlo Tanasyuk, Founder and CEO of Blockverify, David Pinkski, Chief Strategist for Financial Innovation at Hitachi and Aman Kohli, CTO of Financial Services and Insurance Practice at Microsoft. 

The first discussion was on consumer experience. With the implenentation of blockchain, it's inevitable that consumer experience with the internet will look fundamentally different. But what will it evolve into?

Pavlo Tanasyuk​: We will be able to immediately start transacting. There will be no intermediary. We won’t need to sing up with anything, and we define the terms and conditions myself. Its opening up a new universe of being direct.

Aman Kohli: Over the last few years there’s been this notion of programmable exchange which makes the internet valuable on one side, and then brings in digital identity. We are all going to need a digital identity. A lot of business to business flows are going to happen in time. It’s not like everything will be on blockchain.

Pavlo Tanasyuk​: I believe that blockchain technology is fundamentally different than any other technology we’ve had in the past.

Moderator Funnel added to the discussion: "Currency is part of the fabric of the future of society. A number of countries are planning to have crypto-versions of their currencies soon. In a world where more and more is done electronically, what else happens in the economy once cryptocurrencies begin?"

David Pinkski: I don’t believe the markets are going to go away. What I see in the future is being able to offer contracts. There may be not the same type of holder of assets as it exists in any of the banks. But the market makers and the implementers and regulators, would move to blockchain but their roles will still exist. I don’t see banks going away, but how they go about taking deposits I think that they will change tremendously.

I think the process of when credit gets issues and contracts will likely change because of blockchain. If you simply complete money into bitcoin today, it’s a reserve of assets. Wha ti see in the future is being able to offer contracts, and smart contracts. There may not be the same type of holder of assets.

Aman Kohli: Technology is a great way to moderinse systems. The fabric of funding is also going to change for sure.

And if everyone had a 30 second elevator pitch about blockchain to their CEO's, here's what the industry experts think you should say...

David Pinkski: I would start out by educating them on the algoirithms. Start with the business process changes, because that’s what blockchain enables and is a big pain point for businesses. I would say that blockchain is a tool that’s going to make the business process for engineering amongst your partners in the industry feasible. There hasn’t been a technology quite like this to make it feasible. This is a way to transact between businesses, which has never been possible before. I would say to dream big around how you can better interact with the markets that you exist in. 

Read our coverage of day one from London Blockchain Expo here

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