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A Reality Check on Blockchain for Corporate Treasury

Blockchain will not just recede back to the “dark web” soon, as I tried to convince my expert panel.

The panelists for a debate I moderated this week at the Cash and Liquidity Optimization USA conference in New York provided some valuable insight on blockchain that I wanted to share.
First, they agree with the key findings of the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) paper, The future of financial infrastructure, An ambitious look at how blockchain can reshape financial services, including that blockchain, or distributed ledger technology (DLT) will be world changing.

Despite my best efforts to spark debate by taking contrary positions, including my suggestion that blockchain will stay more popular with denizens of the dark web than with public company treasurers, all the panelists remained bullish on the burgeoning technology and agreed with the key takeaways below:

• Blockchain is a friend to corporates by bringing efficiency, risk reduction and innovation.
• Of the major use cases, while payments may be the biggest, trade finance/supply chain finance solutions may come be adopted sooner, to be followed by identity management and even collateral management.
•2017 to 2020 is when blockchain offerings will start to be realized, nothing tangible will happen this year or next.
• Banks (and shadow banks) will be needed to make blockchain solutions work, since they will remain the principal low-cost sources of capital.
• To overcome banks’ tendency to issue press releases over rolling out real solutions, corporates are to be encouraged to press them for blockchain-enabled products and services.
• Whether they press banks or not, the efficiencies to be won from blockchain/DLT, plus the competitive dynamics of VC and bank-backed FinTech companies, will see banks introducing DLT on the back end of services where they make sense. As a result, unless you press the point, you as corporates may end up benefiting from DLT without even knowing it...


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Jeudi 22 Septembre 2016