Despite statements by Google and Facebook about the introduction of a ban on the publication of advertising related to cryptocurrency, the hype around the digital currency market does not affect the value of the blockchain, experts say. The technology offers a unique opportunity for financial companies to reduce the vast and costly number of intermediaries required to operate. Spanish bank Santander estimates that the industry could save about $ 20 billion a year by investing in solutions using online distributed registration technology (DLT). However, not only asset management companies can harness the potential of blockchain..
Transforming financial markets
Online broker ThinkMarkets recently announced the launch of ThinkConnect, the first multipurpose decentralized exchange that will facilitate mutual exchange between individuals and organizations. The platform promises to cover a wide range of financial products (including cryptocurrencies, stocks, fiat currencies, precious metals and other instruments), as well as eliminate middlemen, cut costs and use artificial intelligence to improve performance. By creating a digital profile of each participant, the system will be able to quickly and easily connect a suitable investor with a supplier, while the use of innovative technology will increase transparency and speed up the entire process..
Internet giant Yahoo Japan also decided not so long ago join the cryptocurrency ecosystem. According to the Nikkei, the company plans to buy 40% of the FSA-registered BitARG Exchange Tokyo. The approximate amount of the transaction will be $ 19 million. The purchase is associated with plans to create its own cryptocurrency exchange and tightening control in this area by the national Agency for Financial Services. Although the company intends to launch a new major trading platform in Japan, it will also be able to use some of the existing BitARTG systems..
Many banks are also starting to experiment with technology. For example, Sberbank opened a blockchain laboratory to develop prototypes for innovative products and test new business solutions, attracting internal specialists, startups, and other external firms. Claims like this can sometimes be just a marketing gimmick when the only goal is — to demonstrate to clients and competitors the development in a progressive direction. However, Sberbank has a long history of investing in innovation and various technical platforms, which prompted Brand Finance to name it Russia’s Most Valuable Brand 2017.
In addition to its new lab, the bank is part of several of the largest open source blockchain consortia and claims to be working on over 20 blockchain-based projects..
«Immersion» to blockchain in other directions
One of the largest providers of software and IT services, IBM, has published a video that focuses on working with the blockchain and highlights its advantages for securing transactions in the future. In late 2017, they partnered with regional KlickEx Group and Silicon Valley-based nonprofit Stellar.org to create a new cross-border project that aims to improve efficiency and reduce payment costs..
IBM is also leading the way in integrating blockchain in AI-related developments to better manage the latter. Company executives predict that cryptocurrency technology will lead to «break» the existing supply system (estimated at $ 1.8 trillion), but will have an even more devastating impact on the payment system ($ 2 trillion). They argue that for the transactional realm, the consequences will be the same as those of «internet for communication and data».
On March 14, 2018, Playboy announced its plans to create a cryptocurrency wallet that allows users to pay for the company’s product line using digital currencies..
The entertainment industry is usually one of the first to introduce any new technology. TokenStars Advisor Elena Masolova said in an interview that there are rumors that Pornhub, with its 500 million users, will join the blockchain.
Goods and services
Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, also invests in financial services and the fintech sector. The company announced that it is creating a new division dedicated to mini-banking. They also invest in decentralized projects, so they have the necessary infrastructure to launch their own virtual currency. FinTech journalist Sam Town sees huge potential in this opportunity:
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«It would change the world. The mass adoption period will take minutes after Jeff Bezos announces either his own AmazonCoin or a partnership with an existing platform like Stellar or Ripple. And it can happen any day».
Reasons for slow integration
Due to the fact that the technology is still in the formative stage, there are some obstacles to universal adoption. One of the main challenges is scaling. As the number of transactions grows, the speed of their confirmation decreases, and for the financial sector, where time is of the essence, there are no delays. — vital factor of activity. In addition, there is a potential competitor to DLT Hashgraph in this direction. — data structure based on directed acyclic graph supporting over 250 000 operations per second.
One more problem — mismatch between languages and systems of innovative technology and current financial institutions. Organization of correct interaction, in turn, — a complex task that requires a lot of effort, qualified specialists and significant costs.
Another feature noted Mike Putre, CEO of The Crypto Company: «Although everyone loves blockchain, not everyone loves cryptocurrency.». However, business leaders should still step back from the news hype around virtual currencies and take a closer look at the huge potential of the technology, consider the prospects and benefits of its implementation in your activities.