At the ongoing World Economic Forum 2018 held in Davos, Switzerland – Blockchain and cryptocurrencies undoubtedly remain as one of the hottest topics in the world of economy and finance. The “B-word” is supposedly on everyone’s lips, present currently at Davos, and a lot of interesting sessions with titles like “Blockchain beyond Earth” and “Redefining human value” are being conducted and prominent personalities are heard discussing at length about the new blockchain revolution.
The world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain has reached on crossroads where big financial institutions are having important talks on whether completely denouncing the technology or joining investors and enthusiasts for further development. Head of Emerging Technology at Royal Bank of Scotland, Richard Cook says “We are sitting down around this table trying to decide whose lunch we are going to eat. Because blockchain’s benefits come from decentralization there is little point replacing one technology with another without changing the business model.”
The blockchain is a decentralized distributed ledger technology that backs and support cryptocurrencies. But apart from just financial utility, blockchain has far-reaching applications that can be used to share encrypted data which can be anything right from the land records to medical records. As the data remains encrypted, it prevents the chances of fraud and cheating to a great extent.
However, the inherent nature of digital currencies which allows making transfer between two individuals directly without the involvement of any third-party has made it a very lucrative proposal to establish low-cost transfers which can occur instantly over the blockchain technology.
While on the other hand, many professionals have argued that this can potentially serve as a route to tax evasion and money laundering along with other nefarious activities like terror funding. This is the argument pitched by top heads of many big banking institutions, needless to remind about the famous “Bitcoin is a fraud” statement by CEO of JPMorgan and Chase, Jamie Dimon.
However, the cryptocurrency craze has reached those levels where even banking institutions are finding it hard to completely denounce it. Jamie Dimon was recently seen taking his word back on Bitcoin, saying that he “regrets” calling Bitcoin a “fraud”. Benoit Legrand, chief innovation officer at Dutch bank ING says “We can’t deny that things are changing. The world will include cryptocurrencies in the way we work in the next 10 years. But it needs to be regulated. This is absolutely key.”
Also, many banking institutions who have denounced cryptocurrencies in the past acknowledge the fact that the blockchain technology is really revolutionary in itself and can certainly pave a new path of how we make transactions in the near future.
Former White House press secretary Jamie Smith, who was an earlier critic of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, is now spreading the importance of blockchain and cryptocurrencies to the world. Jamie is currently the the chief executive of the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC), whose mission it is to “advance global understanding of blockchain technology”.
GBCC is backed by some of the very prominent world personalities like Richard Branson and Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt. Jamie Smith explains blockchain by drawing parallels with the Internet technology, how it came into existence and how it has become the new oxygen of the digital world. Jamie says “The original internet was created to move information, and it did. The information we send to each other, has to be actually stored somewhere, so it’s stored in databases. The problem is hackers are getting really good at getting into those silos, and once they are in, it is party time.”
Jamie says that this is where the importance of blockchain technology comes into existence, which allows for encrypted information being sent thereby considerably reducing the chances of theft and phishing.