Many in the Financial services industry, despite having deep interest and having invested in startups and consortiums have started to realize that Blockchain is not going to be enterprise ready any sooner. Certainly it is not a silver bullet either.
For instance, Citi - having invested in Chain.com which is one of the earliest Blockchain startup - has rightly pointed out in its recent Global Perspectives & Solutions report on Digital Disruption that Blockchain is a cost-play for Financial institutions in the long run and its prime time is still ways off. However, Blythe Masters of Digital Asset Holdings is confident that this technology would be a reality in Banks within two years.
Initiatives such as the R3 Consortium, Hyperledger etc. are certainly a step in the right direction. Banks are continuing to experiment on Blockchain and pilot use cases through their innovation teams. There exists an ever growing and contributing Open Source community that is vibrant and is going the extra mile to ensure that this technology doesn't go the Bitcoin way. They are striving to ensure that issues of security, scalability, governance etc. are getting addressed to make Blockchain enterprise ready through their rapid release cycles.
We can also expect a bigger play coming in from the system integrators pretty soon. Infrastructure providers like Microsoft have taken a lead by positioning Azure as a platform for providing Blockchain-as-a-Service. Microsoft has on-boarded a broad array of providers on its Azure platform with the recent one being the famous R3 consortium.
Few of the recent developments in this space are:
Therefore, points to ponder are the following:
- Is Blockchain a panacea or yet another blurb?
- How would Blockchain be regulated? Are the regulators and the courts willing to trust something like a Smart Contract?
- Is there an accepted Governance, Risk and Control framework to make Blockchain work in an enterprise?
- Who would be the final arbitrator in case of cross-border payments or settlement related cases?
- What would be the ecological effects and costs of creating and managing such an extensive network of systems and the enormous amount of power that gets used for mining and upkeep of the network?
- How hack proof is the Blockchain network?
- If Blockchain would become the single source of truth and an accepted form of Digital Identity, would personal identity and privacy be at stake?
- Who would bear the cost of the network on a distributed ledger?
Whichever way it goes, Blockchain is definitely a technology that has the potential to disrupt several things around us. So do you work on anything exciting using Blockchain? Has your organization ever tried or willing to look into this disruptive technology?
Share your views, thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.