Representing my company (side-note: a rather fabulous enterprise data management platform called Gospel that happens to use blockchain), I was speaking to a vast number of people in the financial sector from all over the world at MoneyConfon the subject of blockchain. And as I’ve done so, two ironies in particular have clarified and crystallised in my mind.
1. The widespread use of blockchain-based solutions will probably occur last of all in the very industry to give birth to this radically innovative technology
Now OK, perhaps it’s a stretch to say that in FS, we gave birth to blockchain and certainly most would never have considered – at the outset – that Bitcoin was a financial services provider. But Satoshi’s aim was undoubtedly financially driven as well as anti-political.
So why is FS not leading the charge in deploying the technology? Because I think we’ve overthought it; at least for now. We are trying to boil the ocean, we are over-egging the pudding, we are trying to fly to Jupiter when a train journey to Manchester Piccadilly would solve today’s burning infrastructure problems.
Unlike corporations in other industries who are adopting blockchain into their enterprise IT architecture right now, FS has sat and navel-gazed. Wondered ‘How can I deploy this new technology so that it’s visible to the market?’ Wrong question for this technology for now. Or ‘How can I deploy this technology when no-one in my organisation understands it?’ And you can understand why. Because in engineering, in transport, in energy, in aerospace, no one needs to justify and explain constantly the separation of blockchain and crypto.
In FS, that’s not the case. In a lot of minds, blockchain is crypto is blockchain is crypto is …. therefore a bit hairy. I don’t think it’s a sweeping generalisation to say that the boundaries on the use of blockchain in FS are not thoroughly understood. Because frankly, I’d count myself in that category. And honestly? Unless you have a crystal ball, so should you. But should not yet knowing the boundaries be a case for inaction? For sitting back and sticking ‘everything blockchain’ in a lab?
Hell, no! Which leads me on to the second irony.
2. The best uses for the most exciting new technology are often the most boring and unglamourous
There are many in the blockchain arena with wild ideas that ‘one day, maybe, potentially, possibly, wing-and-a-prayer’ could work out. But it’s generally unhelpful. And most especially of all, it’s unhelpful in the FS space which often shies away from the fright of possibility and suffers from too much lack of clarity.
There is so much you can already use blockchain to do, and to my mind, that’s where you should be looking right now. Because blockchain isn’t just a solution looking for a problem; it’s already a solution. Instead of consulting with the theorists and the mad professors, talk to those of us with the boring every day solutions that ‘happen’ to use blockchain.
We can tell you about the application of it today and how it can help your business to share data securely, to achieve data that is trustworthy and remains so, to aid in compliance, protect sensitive and mission-critical data, prevent bad and illegal trading practises and we can show you how it can save you millions of pounds a year. In a boringly predictable way.
For now, boring is good. Boring secures data. Boring assures data. Boring allows trust. Boring saves fines. Boring saves on existing costs. Boring is value for money.
Give boring a go!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.