Nigel D Solkhon, Interim CEO of ISITC Europe has released a report on the inaugural meeting of the Blockchain Working Group in London. Founded in 1992, ISITC London is a not-for-profit voluntary organization with a series of “work stream” projects planned in 2016 that includes: blockchain, regulation, standards and industry engagement.
As an organization, they have been seeking to regain relevance in a rapidly changing atmosphere of FinTech, specifically in this case within the scope of blockchain technology. Solkhon, a 27-year financial services veteran, seeks to re-establish ISITC’s voice in the global “post-trade” discussions after legitimacy in the industry was admittedly lost post-recession.
The meeting was broken out to go over the current state of affairs within the ISITC and move right into upcoming possibilities for the organization in relation to their strengths.
First, Dr. Pinar Emirdag, a Fintech and market structures expert, started by giving some background on blockchain technology in how it compares with traditional FinTech jargon. She gives examples of why everyone is so excited about blockchain technology and how it does and doesn’t relate to the separate but also remarkable phenomenon of Bitcoin. Considering the crowd of financiers she was likely addressing, Dr. Emirdag gave a strong perspective on how blockchain can be viewed as relevant and potentially revolutionary in a variety of applications to modern challenges.
Next up, Dr Hermann Rapp, a technologist with a background in finance and software continued the theme of blockchain technology potentials with a future facing prediction about what blockchain could be capable of if implemented well by key stakeholders in the finance sector. Dr. Rapp made sure to point out the different levels of blockchain applicability for current banking models in describing the differences between digital currencies, smart contracts and market facilitation.
Dr. Rapp also seemed optimistic about what’s coming out of the relationship between fintech firms and banks, such as accelerators, incubators and other test cases of the new technology.
In an industry that has such massive power and pull in many aspects of society, it also moves glacially when it comes to disruptive changes. Up until now, banks and those involved with finance have been able to innovate at a stuttering pace a several steps behind many other smaller and more nimble industries and business models. It’s encouraging to see an established and somewhat “old-school” organization in ISITC. These sorts of education and rallying meetings are essential to user in stakeholders for the sort of meaningful change within an industry that is hoped for in the near and long-term. One consensus about blockchain seems to be that it’s too important to ignore and none of the big players want to be sitting on their hands if and when the time comes to join a technological revolution.
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