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Blockchain: Three transformative possibilities

Currently, when your company sends a payment internationally, it can take days to settle since each participating bank must record the transaction in its ledger and pass it through the banking network and country clearing systems to the payee.

What if there were only one ledger across all participants — a shared, permanent record that is reliable, transparent, and fast? This is the definition of a distributed ledger. Blockchain is one type of distributed ledger consisting of packets of unchangeable data, called blocks, stored in a linear sequence.

Financial disruptor

A Magister Advisors’ survey found that the top 100 financial institutions in the world plan to spend $1 billion on blockchain-related projects over the next two years. Tabb Group analysts say, “As emergent technologies go, blockchain has the potential to be the blockbuster technology that could revolutionize the way the capital markets settle and clear transactions.”

Here are some of the transformative possibilities of blockchain:

- Digital wallet. The technology can enable point-of-sale payments. Merchants and consumers gain greater security since the record of digital events associated with a blockchain is irrefutable.
- Tiny transactions. In e-commerce, a micropayment involves a very small sum of money, often less than $1.00, which tends to be too costly for credit card acceptance. Leveraging the blockchain, individuals could pay pennies to buy small items such as one digital newspaper article.
- Assets. Any asset that requires a ledger in order to be transferred — from stocks and bonds to car titles and houses — could benefit. Nasdaq is making the distribution and record-keeping of shares issued by private companies more efficient and secure. Digital Asset Holding aims to shorten settlement times around syndicated loans.

Beyond financial

The blockchain can apply to any shared digital record. That means healthcare information and personal identification such as drivers’ licenses and passports could be maintained securely and passed as needed to authorized parties. Legal contracts that require shared access for tracking and alteration, as well as secure storage, are candidates. We’re in the early days of blockchain development, and the applications continue to grow.


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Mercredi 7 Septembre 2016