05.18.2016
By Rob Daly

Wall Street Not First Mover on Blockchain

Despite the large amount of resources that Wall Street is investing in the development of distributed-ledger standards, governmental and generic business processes likely will be the first to reap the benefits of blockchain technology.

“Financial services might be the first to see the benefits,” said Jamie Smith, global chief communications officer of BitFury Group. “Clearly that’s where things are heading and where 90% of the media coverage is. However, the undercurrents I’m seeing are in governmental test-case pilot projects.”

Her firm recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Republic of Georgia to implement a blockchain-based digital solution for the nation’s land registry.

“We are also working with a ton of democracy organizations in Washington, D.C. to figure out for some voting projects,” she added. “There’s a lot afoot and you’ll hear something about these projects in the next six to nine months either coming to fruition or, at least, being launched.”

Meanwhile IBM, a major participant in the open-sourced hyperledger project supervised by the Linux Foundation, plans to launch a blockchain-based dispute-resolution system for its $44 billion channel financing business that is set to launch in the third quarter, according to James Brill, director, worldwide service sector marketing and communications at IBM.

IBM and its channel partners will contribute their financing data to the encrypted and permissioned blockchain in an effort to reduce the approximately $100 million in disputes IBM and its partners face on a daily basis.

“The hypothesis is when we have a dispute, we can go and see exactly what the truth was at every stage,” he said. “And this case is applicable across all industries. But I think that the securities world will be where people see the first line of implementations of note.”

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