Working with and understanding practical ways to apply blockchain to Fintech is a daily task at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia according to CeBIT Australia 2017 panelist and Commonwealth Bank Executive Manager, Emerging Technology Team, Chris Connor. Connor said it was creating new ways of thinking and working within CBA and right now the priority is to create IP and have safeguards to protect that IP.
He said working out what is and what is not a fit for blockchain within the business was a journey.
“Every day the team asks, is this a blockchain problem? Nine out of 10 times the answer is no.”
However, blockchain is only one piece of the puzzle. Connor told the crowd there were more questions that needed to be answered such as:
How can this make money?
What are the regulatory requirements around this?
What’s the business case?
Do we need to educate?
CBA’s approach to blockchain technology was one of the insights discussed at the conference’s How is blockchain transforming Fintech? panel.
Blockchain was undoubtedly a hot topic at the conference and rightly so - it’s the backbone of cryptocurrency and if you’re in a way part of the digital world you’d have heard blockchain mentioned many times in recent years.
On the panel, Connor was joined by fellow blockchain gurus such as Living Room of Satoshi CEO Daniel Alexiuc whose site facilitates Bitcoin payments for your everyday Australian bills, like electricity and car registration. blockchain Australia President and Get Paid in Bitcoin Managing Director Adam Poulton also joined the discussion, as did BitPOS Founder Jason Williams whose start-up offers a Bitcoin point-of-sale solution.
Connor noted there had been a shift in the way the Financial Services industry was reacting to blockchain. He said six months ago experimentation with the online ledger system would get people excited, but now, business partners were ready for production pilots and implementation. Poulton agreed, and pointed out blockchain had lowered the barrier to start a more agile business than ever before.
Williams, whose payment processor is Australia’s largest blockchain payments company, threw his own observations into the mix. “Bitcoin and cryptocurrency won’t take over AUD any time soon but what it can do is decrease costs for us,” he said referring to the billions of credit card frauds that exist around the world. “[With blockchain] …. we don’t need insurances on credit cards or departments tasked with investigating fraud,” he said. “It eliminates chargebacks and credit card frauds, these concepts don’t exist.” Alexiuc agreed saying blockchain was a database technology that enables you to find the source of truth.
The group discussed how blockchain is being used not just in the financial space. FLUX, a new democratic voting tool, was pinpointed as a disrupter. As was Everledger, a startup developing ledgers to reduce the risk of fraud for banks, insurers and the open marketplace.