Blockchain (Image: DavidStankiewicz/Wikipedia)

When Not If? Banks Strike Optimistic Tone on Blockchain Impact

“We are in the process of developing a new operating system for the planet.”

The remark, issued by Barclays’ vice chairman of corporate banking, Jeremy Wilson, perhaps summed up the scope and tenor of discussion at the Blockchain for Finance conference yesterday. Held in Dublin, the event played host to participants more at home in suits than hoodies, though the mood was no less enthusiastic than if it was packed with developers.

Blockchain (Image: DavidStankiewicz/Wikipedia)
Blockchain (Image: DavidStankiewicz/Wikipedia)

Leading off with a panel of C-Suite executives from large financial institutions, it was here Wilson issued his positioning statement, one that added to the outlooks of other panelists assembled to provide a top-down view of blockchain work originating in the financial sector.

However, if Wilson appeared awe-struck at the enormity of the promise of blockchain and distributed ledger applications, he was equally critical of the work the industry is doing to assess ethical and moral dimensions of the coming impact.

Emmanuel Aidoo, director of blockchain at Credit Suisse, also hinted at fragile complexities. He likened the integration of blockchain into financial processes to a game of Jenga – you pull out the blocks from the bottom and hope that the tower doesn’t crumble.

But while few details about live implementations were forthcoming, all participants mentioned specific projects their institutions had undertaken. And, in contrast to years past, Wilson wasn’t a lone voice on the panel remarking on the potential of what is to come when – not if – these projects come to fruition.

Hadley Stern, senior vice president of Fidelity Lab, told attendees:

“Asking us that is as if Tim Berners-Lee had just developed HTTP and you’re asking us if the internet will change the world.”

Read more: Coindesk

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