01 December 2016
Making tea on the blockchain
A new algorithm is entrancing the world of finance. The energy unleashed to challenge all existing solutions (from cross-border payments to post-trade securities settlement) and improve them is wonderful. But is Blockchain really new? More importantly: is it any better than the methods we had before? Should we business people even be talking about algorithms ? Are some of the basic premises – like wanting to get rid of a central arbiter – really a good idea ? Maybe the new champions just want to position themselves as the new central points of control ! How would a fully distributed system work in the real world – especially since the basic algorithm does not seem scalable, uses inordinate amounts of energy and is even surprisingly bad at privacy ?
Can one tweak the blockchain to make it more efficient, adhere to regulations like AML/KYC without losing all advantages ? Or are we all just following the latest hype and will end up discovering that Blockchain is only for idealists (or criminals) intent on bypassing banks and central authorities ? Maybe Blockchain really only is good for making tea.
The speaker – who studied Computer Science and spent many years at IBM managing the evolution of distributed solutions without blockchain – muses on hype versus reality and the tendency for our sometimes lemming-like behaviour. A reality check is offered on how to use the energy unleashed in the Blockchain debate to solve real problems in a practical way.