World Economic Forum: Blockchain a Game Changer for the Future of Financial Transactions

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Unlocking Blockchain will be a game-changer for the future of financial transactions, noted panellists in a session on the innovative digital ledger today at the World Economic Forum’s  Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2016 in Tianjin.

“Blockchain will revolutionize banking and financial services as we know it,” acknowledged Pierre Gramegna, Minister of Finance of Luxembourg, “I think it is possible that Blockchain will replace the word ‘internet’. By the time our children have children, the only time they will see the word ‘internet’ is in science and history books.”

“Some say that Blockchain is the new internet of the financial world,” pointed outAxel Lehmann, Group Chief Operating Officer and Member of the Group Executive Board, UBS Group, Switzerland.

Blockchain is a secure ledger database made up of data blocks that are shared by all users in an established, continually evolving platform. For financial organizations, Blockchain allows for faster processing time, lower costs, fewer intermediaries, greater market insight and increased transparency and compliance.

While Blockchain is viewed as the main technical innovation, or underwriter, of the crypto-currency, bitcoin, it is in no way exclusive to it. Indeed, panellists agreed that Blockchain technology has far wider applications.

“We now have non-sovereign money and it has a lot of advantages and it is just going to grow,” explained Jeremy Allaire, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Circle, USA. “The nature of accounting, insurance, corporate governance, voting, all of these systems can be moved to Blockchain technologies in the future. We are just at the start,” he said.

Blockchain technology has also opened up innovative ways to counter fraud and illegal trade, such as in blood diamonds. “When we start to think about how Blockchain technology can be applied, it can be applied at the level of objects,” explained Leanne Kemp, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Everledger, United Kingdom.

Through her start-up company, Kemp has utilized Blockchain technology to trace synthetic diamonds that have started to pepper the supply chain, with the goal of curbing diamond fraud. “I would like to see Blockchain being applied to big problems, the proliferation of counterfeit goods and financial inclusion, noted Kemp. “We should be thinking about where we are applying this technology.”

Decentralized technology industries are starting to embrace Blockchain technology, but there are important questions about how it will be regulated. On the banking hub of Luxembourg, Gramegna agreed there are still regulatory and taxation issues to be addressed. Yet governments, he said, should be forward thinking. Luxembourg, for example, was one of the first countries to legalize virtual currencies and it has the same open approach to Blockchain.

“You need a regulator that is keen. The regulator is there to apply the rules, fully and in an equal manner; but, at the same time, the regulator can be innovative,” Gramegna said. “For sharing values and assets and doing payments, all this is going to become a commodity, and for free – this will change the world in which we live.”

The World Economic Forum’s 10th Annual Meeting of the New Champions is taking place on 26-28 June in Tianjin, People’s Republic of China. Convening under the theme, The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Its Transformational Impact, more than1,700 business leaders, policy-makers and experts from over 90 countries will participate and explore more than 200 sessions over the three days of the meeting.

About Richard Kastelein

Founder, Publisher and Editor in Chief of industry leading online publication, Blockchain News and co-founder and director at Blockchain Partners in London/Amsterdam/NYC. Kastelein is also an advisor with a number Blockchain startups doing ICOs including Humaniq.co where hs is interim CMO, DECENT.ch, Inchain, Chronobank, eGaas and others. He is regarded as one of the top journalists by the Blockchain and fintech communities – as is evident by his entry in the Top 150 Fintech journalists online and in the top 10 of the Blockchain Top 100 List.

As a prominent keynote presenter, he has spoken on Blockchain at events in Gdansk, Amsterdam, Minsk, Dubai, Antwerp, Eindhoven, Bucharest, Nairobi, Tel Aviv, Manchester, Brussels, Barcelona etc, where he helped spread the cause for Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency and, consequently, has built a notable network in the scene.

He’s also a director of a Dutch foundation called The Hackitarians and has run innovation events in London, San Francisco, Berlin, Amsterdam and other cities around the world on topics such Blockchain, Health, Energy, Internet of Things, AI etc.

In 2013, the European Commission appointed him as an expert for overseeing financing for emerging startups as a part of the European Commission’s 90 billion euro Horizon 2020 project, created in Brussels to promote innovation as a driving force of job creation and business ventures across Europe. He has also worked as an external expert for Innovate UK since 2012, judging startups for the UK government.

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