Unpacking Blockchain: An Introduction

What is it about blockchain that so excites the cognoscenti?

Is it as significant as the development of double-entry bookkeeping to the recording and reporting of financial information? Or should blockchain be thought of as the TCP/IP of financial communication that will usher in an era of uniformity across networks?

This is not simply a matter of speculation for the financially-minded geek. Indeed, nothing is more telling of blockchain’s broader significance than that in an era of aggressive cost-cutting, financial institutions are funding projects to apply a technology that very few senior executives can effectively define. The consensus across stakeholders is that this extends well beyond the back office and into the domain of strategy that banks adopt in response to emerging technologies, the business models they enable, and the media they provide for client communication.

If blockchain offers more than a one-size-fits-all solution to taking costs out of an existing business, what applications and benefits can we expect? To answer this question, we have compiled a series of interviews with a range of participants across blockchain’s value chain. In each case, we have focused on the application of blockchain rather than a pro forma assessment of its potential. Our objective is not to argue a case for or against blockchain, but to inform and broaden the debate on its significance. In this regard, a common theme quickly emerges that we are only at the beginning of a journey that is not about the nature of the technology but the end to which it is applied.

We’ve interviewed a selection of blockchain experts, at financial institutions, consortiums and startups to this end. Read the series to find out more. We’ll be posting two interviews each week.

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Accelerating financial inclusion with blockchain
An interview with Pavel Bains, Bluzelle

Working towards a world of many chains
An interview with Brian Behlendorf, Hyperledger

How close are we to T+0 with blockchain?
An interview with Oliver Bussmann, Bussmann Advisory

Building a smart contracts platform
An interview with Henrik Hjelte, ChromaWay

Integrating blockchain in a financial institution
An interview with Altona Widjaja, OCBC Bank

Investing in blockchain
An interview with Antony Lewis, R3 Singapore