Strong Opinions, Loosely Held

The Blockchain Has Friends

Alan Tsen

Last night at FinTech Melbourne we hosted Australia and New Zealand Bank’s CTO – Patrick Maes. Beyond being a fascinating discussion about the Australian FinTech landscape, one of the things that struck me about the conversation was how bullish his comments were regarding distributed ledger and blockchain technology. In fact, Maes noted that blockchain technology was one of the only true innovations in the payments space over the last 2,000 years – which is a significant comment given how nascent this technology actually is.

In recent days, with the issues the Bitcoin blockchain has faced with the introduction of BIP-66, it’s easy to forget the impact the technology has had in opening up the minds of many senior executives in the banking space as to how a new financial payment stack might actually look.

The reality is that still writing code in COBOL or FORTRAN and running your own server farms as a bank isn’t a sustainable technology model. Regardless of whether you’re a Bitcoin or a permissioned ledger maximalist, the banking world is moving rapidly towards a future where some form of distributed ledger becomes a major layer in the banking technology stack. Further, it really looks like this change may come from the upper management layers of banks – which is really exciting.

Viva la blockchain!

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