Swiss Re: DLT nowhere near interoperability

By Rebekah Tunstead | 6 December 2018

Interoperability of cross industry distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) may be the next logical step forward, but it is far from being realised, according to Jags Rao, director of DLT at Swiss Re.

“We are not there yet, we are not even near. But, that is an opportunity where the tech industry can make progress,” said Rao at Fintech Connect in London this week.  

“Frankly speaking, I’m not bothered much about it, because if you look at the investment going in from the venture capital side into start-ups who are actively engaged in this space, there are products like the Cardano Foundation, they are doing an excellent job in my opinion to understand how we can ensure scalability, and interoperability so this is a sustainable model.”

Speaking on a panel on the subject, Ken Marke, chief marketing officer at B3i said the future of blockchain was in cross industry exchange of data.

“The future looks like the banking blockchain network, and the insurance one, and the supply chain, and so on, being able to interoperate, being able to talk to each other, being able to exchange information. And fundamentally this is all about exchanging data, and moving it around in a very secure, and a very private, and very efficient way,” said Marke.

“Interoperability probably comes into play in the long term, because there won’t only ever be one blockchain already there are quite a few, but making sure that they can inter-operate, to make sure that fluidity happens,” he said.

Marke said GDPR would have looked very different if the regulators had some insight into the power and potential of blockchain, and what it could do to ensure privacy.

“GDPR was ahead of its time in a sense, because it didn’t have at its disposal all the tools that we have today. What do we do today? Well, either you ditch GDPR, which won’t happen, or you could work with the regulators to educate them, and this is part of what we try to do, and other insurers are trying to do, is to educate the regulator about the potential of blockchain. I’m sure you’re doing it in banking as well,” he said.

According to Marke, regulators are willing to be educated in the opportunities that blockchain can provide.

“They are coming to us, and they are not telling us how to do things, they are actually coming to us, and saying, ‘Well, actually what does blockchain do?’ It’s all about that education,” said Marke.

“I know GDPR is very open to interpretation, but perhaps they (the regulators) will start to clarify things and start to recommend the use of blockchain to help achieve the aims of GDPR.”

For Rao, neutrality is the biggest differentiator DLT platforms can provide currently.

“What is happening when multiple parties come together and transact using the same platform, using DLT there is a neutral aggregation of data. That is very different to the centralised aggregation of data, that you see in the Amazons and Facebooks of the world.

“This neutrality means that you can actually collaborate together with the competitor.

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