You may have read or heard about concepts such as Bitcoin, Blockchain and more recently Distributed Ledger. You may have used bitcoins to purchase something on internet or settle an FX transaction Bitcoin/USD to gain some money through electronic platforms. Wherever the digital currency comes into discussion, relevant debates often follow.
Early adopters are effusively showing that Blockchain / Distributed Ledger Technology (from now on DLT) will eliminate dependencies on banks and regulations while other business topics are arising from researchers and industry specialists, stating that Blockchain is just a “flash in the pan” or that the lack of standardisation could peter out expectations of DLT applications.
However, more and more companies are looking closely to DLT as it is demonstrating realistic and practical advantages come out. Ideally, this technology has the potential to process transactions in an efficient, highly cost-effective and fairway, improving significantly the current capabilities of centralized networks (i.e. capital markets).
This is the reality of the DLT, based on a protocol for exchanging value over a network without intermediaries – and there is a growing buzz about how it might transform a raft of industry sectors, too.
In our view and with regard to sectors related to our business, which are mainly banking (retail and wholesale) and insurance, there are several opportunities to create and deliver compelling services and solutions using the power of disruptive innovation. In this sense, we hope this paper helps curious researchers and DLT stakeholders understand market insight over this technology and how Nfq is preparing to face challenges raised.
Nfq is tackling DLT throughout two main strategic lines: Knowledge and Solution. Knowledge is being developed through our research department where a deep study of the market is being developed to conclude on business tendencies and applications. Furthermore, our project team is leveraging on market tendencies and practices to develop bespoke solutions for the banking industry.
On the one hand, this paper will disclose our insight of the DLT market, presenting tendencies in the different sectors, key concepts and principal stakeholders (start-ups and technologies among others).
On the other hand, it will introduce our vision of the future of DLT from a technical point of view, tracing the link between the business interests of Nfq’s Innovation Group and the technical aspects implied within the solution with the aim to steer both subprojects to face the same direction.
The state of blockchain development varies between countries and continents. Most of the companies working with this technology are located in North America (USA & Canada) or Asia (mainly Singapore). Blockchain technology is by far one of the most promising technologies mankind has crafted. As Marc Andreesen says, blockchain will be a digital tsunami;
The practical consequence is that for the first time, there is a way for one Internet user to transfer a unique piece of digital property to another Internet user without creating a copy of it, such that the transfer is guaranteed to be safe and secure, everyone knows that the transfer has taken place, and nobody can challenge the legitimacy of the transfer. The consequences of this breakthrough are hard to overstate.
To get a grasp of the potential of blockchain technology, here are some market predictions:
Accenture estimates Distributed Ledger technology (DLT) can save eight of the ten largest banks 30% in costs. Goldman Sachs estimates it can save global capital markets $6 billion annually. Santander believes it can save the banking sector $15 and $20 billion a year in infrastructure costs. DLT can elegantly and securely solve the inefficiencies presented by storing data in centralized ledgers.