Benzinga FinTech Awards – Notes from the Conference (4)

The Age of Blockchain How it will change finance:

John Hart – Director of Trading TD

  • The regulatory grey area is difficult to bypass and get to the point of utilization.

Raj Karkara – Managing Director at T0 and Overstock

  • The use of blockchain is unlimited and needs to be utilized in order to kill off some older legacy applications.
  • Public vs. Private Chains is a big fight right now.
  • Education is key to getting the public behind a progressive product like crypto and blockchain.
  • Believes that focusing on the user and a beautiful user experience is the key to using blockchain and being successful.
  • Where does he see the technology being utilized in 18 Months:
    • Identity Solutions
    • Central Banking Solutions
    • Capital Markets Solutions
    • Solutions for voting.

Alex Mashinsky, CEO – Celsius Network

  • Blockchain is a fight between centralization vs. de-centralization
  • Will it be an open or closed ledger?  JPMorgan is using an Ethereum Fork with closed architecture which he doesn’t believe is the best use of the technology.
  • Alex believes the best insertion point for blockchain technology is in borrowing and lending as he believes the banks are doing a terrible job at this.
  • He also believes that reinventing legacy products like banking, insurance, mortgages is the best place to start to look at implenting blockchain.
  • Where does he see the technology being utilized in 18 Months:
    • Sees consolidation, 80% of the companies will disappear within the crypto-currency / blockchain space similar to the dot com bubble.  
    • Believes that in 5-10 years, block chain and crypto will be bigger than google and apple.

Danny Aranda, Managing Director – Ripple

  • There are a lot of good ideas coming out of blockchain, but figuring out where to insert it is the main problem.
  • Getting from Fiat to Crypto is the hardest part right now.
  • Danny went on to compare blockchain to Instagram in the fact that they leveraged the technology available with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to create a better photo sharing app.  He doesn’t think that blockchain is there yet, but think they are on the cusp of being able to provide solutions for big, small and start up companies alike.
  • International Cross Border Payments is where he sees the best insertion points.
  • His Advice regarding the technology:  Stay focused as there is a lot of noise.  Lots of products / coins being offered for the pure reason of raising money vs. actually using the technology to improve something.  As a whole, we need focus on one or two problems and look for a solution to insert the technology into.
  • 18 Months:  Solving lots of client / user pain points in the markets.  Also sees lots of consolidation.