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Year in data 2015: Blockchain

Shared ledger threatens change.

Nick Hungerford, co-founder and chief executive of robo-adviser Nutmeg, predicts a faster pace in the fintech-driven transformation of finance in 2016.

Nick Hungerford 160x186

Nick Hungerford, Nutmeg

He believes that blockchain, a technology for establishing an immutable, shared ledger of record for all transactions in a market (and which underpins bitcoin), will be the driving force. “We see a future for the distributed ledger and predict 2016 will bring a welcome pivot from over-excited speculation at fintech conferences to the unglamorous business of actual implementation.” Euromoney readers agree. Out of the 151 institutions – comprising banks, their issuing and investing clients, tech companies, law firms and regulators – that answered Euromoney’s questions on the blockchain in 2015 more than half think that it will transform banking fundamentally. 

Just one in eight says that it has been overhyped or is merely one interesting new technology among many. That is fewer than think that arrival of the blockchain marks the beginning of the end for banks. 

Leda Glyptis, head of the EMEA innovation centre at Bank of New York Mellon, told a panel at Sibos that an existential question looms for incumbents. “The blockchain forces banks to rethink our entire value chain in ways we have never done before. Whatever the final answer is, as to what goes on the blockchain, remains to be seen. But we have to think: ‘What are we for, as banks?’”

By the end of 2015, 30 of the biggest global banks had joined a consortium with tech firm R3 to develop advanced distributed ledger technologies for financial markets.

They hope that adopting the blockchain will make them stronger.


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