There wasn’t a single company there I spoke to who hadn’t heard of or were monitoring the distributed ledger in one way or another, and they all seemed to have plans to implement it in the future although the timeframes varied from business to business.
Blockchain without bitcoin is just a distributed database
Interestingly, many of the banking platform companies didn’t seem to understand how the Blockchain actually worked and were of the opinion that bitcoin was irrelevant and was just a first experiment that hasn’t gone very well.
I found it very positive that the majority were intrigued to learn more about it and were very surprised to hear that without the digital currency or asset as it was referred to by some being mined and moved across the Blockchain, it lacked the security and decentralised nature the protocol was designed for.
Basically the Blockchain without bitcoin is nothing more than a distributed database and lacks any security that is needed to move value around on it.
The future of credit cards, digital identity and mobile payments
All seemed to be of agreement that credit cards in the present form were becoming less and less of an option in the future of payments as the infrastructure and the system it runs on is becoming more penetrable and hackers now see it as an extremely easy target, with biometrics being seen as one solution in this area as well as in digital identity.
Also a big theme of the event was mobile payments and digital inclusion with lots of statistics on the growth of these particular markets, which reaffirmed my belief that the future of payments is definitely digital and mobile focused with convenience of use and reaching the unbanked key areas being worked on.
Fintech sees opportunities in digital currencies and Blockchain
Very few companies dismissed the potential that the Blockchain will play in the upcoming global financial system and although there were many who had the opinion that bitcoin is the new gold, there was just as many who were completely against it and made you feel like it was a dirty word that shouldn’t even be spoken.
My conclusion from listening to all the differing views and checking out the products in the process of being brought to market is that the impending outlook for fintech is without a doubt digital currencies and the Blockchain.
Although it seems to be that mainstream purchasing with them directly is some time away yet, and we will have a couple of years of them running away in the background of the global financial infrastructure with dollars, pounds and yen at the forefront until the transition to full blown adoption takes place.