Fintech 40 : We’ve seen the future and it’s blockchain

Blockchain, the technology behind the bitcoin electronic currency, may not have the best resume but big things are expected of it by the Fintech 40, the people identified by FN in June as the most influential in European fintech.

That is a big change from September 2014.
Then an FN poll of fintech names showed that “big data”, using computers to extract useful intelligence from vast databases, was seen as more promising. Blockchain came second, with its fans largely venture capitalists rather than executives in finance.

We asked the Fintech 40 : “What emerging fintech innovation will be the most disruptive to the financial services status quo ?”

Below are their thoughts on the blockchain. Visit next week for their views on peer-to-peer finance, big data, mobile technologies and more.

• On the blockchain…

Oliver Bussmann, Group chief information officer, UBS
Radical technologies such as blockchain present a unique opportunity to simplify and accelerate banking processes in a much more networked, transparent and decentralised way. With blockchain you can theoretically settle a securities transaction in seconds instead of days and bring far more transparency to cross-border payments… just a few examples of how this disruptive technology could become a major game changer.

Roberto Ferrari, General manager, challenger bank CheBanca!
Blockchain is showing itself to be a multi-purpose platform that can bring not just financial services but the whole economy into a new digital age. It is a new, agnostic, distributed public ledger that can be applied securely and efficiently as a massive shared digital banking and transactions ledger for the clearing of derivative contracts, securities and asset servicing, syndicated lending, trade finance, bonds and much more including property.

Udayan Goyal, Co-founder and partner, Apis Partners
Blockchain. The concept of the distributed ledger and smart contracts will fundamentally change the way all transactions are done – be they payments, securities, trade finance or like. The hub and spoke model in existence today will be replaced with peer-to-peer networks.

Credit scoring and underwriting. The advent of big data will completely disrupt the way credit underwriting is done. We will move to a big data analytical model in real time rather than relying on credit bureaus and manual underwriting processes. This will be spurred by people putting their accounting information in the cloud through companies such as Xero.

Distribution. Distribution will essentially become mobile-centric, led by the emerging markets who will leapfrog existing physical distribution in developed markets as there is no legacy infrastructure.

Chris Skinner, Chairman, Financial ServicesClub
Peer-to-peer lenders and new payment models are gaining all the investment from venture capitalists. Having said that, the biggest fintech innovation is the use of shared ledgers based upon the blockchain technologies. After all, if you can move $100 million on a Sunday morning instantaneously at zero cost, then the whole counterparty banking and settlements system is turned on its head. That’s exciting and is the reason why I’m doubling down on cryptocurrencies for the near future.

Steve Gibson, Managing director, Euclid Opportunities
The easy answer here is blockchain. The more challenging question is whether this will be a disruptive revolution or collaborative evolution. Our sense is the latter – emerging blockchain providers will partner with existing market participants to provide next generation efficiency, transparency and security.

Stefan Tirtey, Managing director, CommerzVentures
We believe that over the next two to three years the application of “big data analytics” and machine learning can disrupt the lending to underserved client segments. In the mid to long term, we feel that blockchain technology, or its successors, can be just as transformative or even disruptive to the financial services industry.

Who would have anticipated that the invention of the internet protocol in 1974 would enable applications such as the Web and cloud computing? Well, it did, creating billion-dollar markets and disrupting several industries in the process. We believe that the financial services industry might just experience its own “1974 moment”. Way to go!

Eric Van der Kleij, Head, Level39
The advent of the blockchain and distributed ledger technology really feels like a pivotal moment for financial services. As a lifelong entrepreneur myself, I am drawn to the varied and truly life-changing applications of this technology.

Nektarios Liolios, Managing director, Startupbootcamp FinTech
“Distributed ledger” is growing in popularity and is entering more niche segments of the financial sector. As the technology is getting more mature and the incumbents more willing to engage with it, there is unprecedented potential to tackle a range of expensive, risky and inefficient processes, such as securities clearing and settlement.

Matteo Rizzi, General partner, SBT Venture Capital
It’s not an innovation per se, but the deployment of real-time settlement for domestic and international payments – and distributed ledger/blockchain could be one way to deal with it – will disrupt the correspondent banking model…


Copyright : Anna Irrera

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