London Blockchain Expo highlights

Last week PaymentEye attended London Blockchain Expo, an exhibition bringing together industry experts and professionals to learn about leading brands and cutting edge blockchain technology. Today we’re rounding up our expo highlights, including panel dicussions on blockchain and commentary from RBS, Hitachi and Microsoft.

In a discussion where VC experts were asked about the definition of blockchain and why it’s a revolutionary technology, here’s what they had to say..

Eddy Travia, Pioneer Blockchain Investor & CEO, Coincillium: Most people know it as a peer to peer distributed ledger. What is really important for blockchain is its key characteristics: The fact that you can’t change blockchain, and that you can share the data and access the data. One reason why financial services are looking at blockchain is they feel it can solve some of the issues they have such as settlements.

What’s interesting is over past few years blockchain was a disruptive technology but now more and more we’re starting to understand that blockchain is becoming a foundational technology. A bit like what the internet was back in 70’s. In the 70’s, the first application of the internet from what we know was e-mail. I think in many ways, Bitcoin can be associated to ‘email’ as the first application of blockchain; it’s easy to use and easy to get.

Jamie Burke, CEO of Outlier Capital LLC and Blockchain Angels: “When I came across bitcoin and the technologies such as smart contracts, for me it was very obvious where it was applicable. This was four and a half years ago so it was very theoretical and conceptual. When you think about web 2.0, aside from retail or media it hasn’t really changed the world or the markets that much. They’re still very centralised and still heavily human mediated.”

“For me, blockchain technology represents web 3.0. It’s a technology stack that enables us to move from a centralised world to a decentralised world, and I don’t mean that in an extreme sense, just a spectrum. And you can start to remove people and alternative functions through smart contracts. What this represents is a shift, from web 2.0 to web 3.0 and I think that will enable more autonomous, certainly more automated, peer to peer markets, and more importantly machine to machine.”

For day two, developments in blockchain and how it can be implemented into different markets and industries was the primary topic of discussion at the expo. The main focus of the key note discussions and panels centered on securing blockchain applications, building partnerships to help grow financial services, and what the future holds for blockchain technology.

In a panel discussion for what the future holds for blockchain, the first discussion was on consumer experience. With the implementation of blockchain, it’s inevitable that consumer experience with the internet will look fundamentally different. But what will it evolve into?

Pavlo Tanasyuk​, Founder and CEO of Blockverify: “We will be able to immediately start transacting. There will be no intermediary. We won’t need to sing up with anything, and we define the terms and conditions myself. Its opening up a new universe of being direct.

Aman KohliCTO, Financial services and insurance practice, Microsoft:  “Over the last few years there’s been this notion of programmable exchange which makes the internet valuable on one side, and then brings in digital identity. We are all going to need a digital identity. A lot of business to business flows are going to happen in time. It’s not like everything will be on blockchain.

Pavlo Tanasyuk​: “I believe that blockchain technology is fundamentally different than any other technology we’ve had in the past.”

In a world where more and more is done electronically, what else happens in the economy once cryptocurrencies begin?

David PinkskiChief strategist for financial innovation, Hitachi:  I don’t believe the markets are going to go away. What I see in the future is being able to offer contracts. There may be not the same type of holder of assets as it exists in any of the banks. But the market makers and the implementer and regulators, would move to blockchain but their roles will still exist. I don’t see banks going away, but how they go about taking deposits I think that they will change tremendously.

I think the process of when credit gets issues and contracts will likely change because of blockchain. If you simply complete money into bitcoin today, it’s a reserve of assets. What I see in the future is being able to offer contracts, and smart contracts. There may not be the same type of holder of assets.

Aman Kohli: Technology is a great way to modernize systems. The fabric of funding is also going to change for sure.

And finally, if everyone had a 30 second elevator pitch about blockchain to their CEO’s, here’s what an industry experts think you should say…

David Pinkski: I would start out by educating them on the algorithms. Start with the business process changes, because that’s what blockchain enables and is a big pain point for businesses. I would say that blockchain is a tool that’s going to make the business process for engineering among your partners in the industry feasible. There hasn’t been a technology quite like this to make it feasible. This is a way to transact between businesses, which has never been possible before. I would say to dream big around how you can better interact with the markets that you exist in.

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