04.15.2016
By Rob Daly

OPINION: Dial Down the Blockchain Hype

The FIX Trading Community held its Americas Briefing on the 14th and like any FinTech event these days, it wrapped up with a blockchain panel discussion.

It’s not surprising that one of the early questions asked by the panel if FIX would be the right messaging protocol that should be used in conjunction with FinTech blockchains.

It’s a reasonable thesis: The FIX messaging protocol has the ability to describe almost any trading transaction.

If I went to a similar panel hosted by the SWIFT banking cooperative, I’m sure that those panelists would discuss adopting its ISO 20022 messaging standard in conjunction with any blockchain implementation would be the only reasonable thing for the industry to do.

It’s far too early to discuss how the industry should deploy a blockchain-based platform before deciding where it should, or even whether it should, deploy such a platform.

Besides, it doesn’t really matter since blockchain acts as a secure wrapper, which cold be wrapped around a FIX, ISO 20022, XBRL, or even HTML payload.

American architect Louis Sullivan advised young architects that “form follows function.” Let’s determine first whether we’re building a three-bedroom split-level ranch house or an abattoir before selecting the proper interior color scheme.

For the next two to five years, Wall Street can expect to re-live the fun run up to the bursting of the Internet Bubble in 2000, when every codehead had their own startup with a three-page business plan and the blessing from venture capitalists.

The next few years will see every potential blockchain use-case gets thrown against the wall to see what sticks. And for every Google, Facebook, and Amazon.com, there will be an ungodly number of Lycos, Friendsters, and Pets.coms.

So far, the blockchain vendors with the early bets are on the ones looking to automate manual processes instead of replacing an existing automated process as well as the one that have convinces the largest gatekeepers, such as governments, regulators, and the largest companies, to adopt their technology.

Everyone else? They want to be your friend.

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