The World Economic Forum in Davos has been paying growing attention to new financial technologies, including Bitcoin and Blockchain for several years already. The WEF annual conference this year was mostly dedicated to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and FinTech.
The World’s financial and banking giants again shared their attitude to digital currencies and Blockchain technology. Some of them did note that new distributed ledger solutions will change the financial industry soon, while others condemned Bitcoin to failure.
After the first day of the conference an interview with Garry Lyons, Chief Innovation Officer at MasterCard, to Business Insider caught everyone’s attention. He said that the company is “interested in seeing where blockchain technology goes” and the company is already investing in Digital Currency Group (DCG), the Bitcoin and Blockchain company.
Garry Lyons continued:
“It’s not just the industry that’s excited about blockchain — it’s the world, everyone. Even at Davos, every single tech panel I have gone to mentions blockchain and some people call it ‘the second coming.’ But while we think it’s very interesting, we don’t want to, and no one wants to, be blindsided by rushing into it [as the technology is still developing].”
R3 Consortium followers
Since the rise of Bitcoin at the end of 2014, the banking industry feels the pressure of losing power over the financial world and society for centuries. Now banks are trying to get on the train of the booming fintech market. No doubt, that representatives of the banks that participate in R3 consortium would use quite similar statements, while making bets on their research of distributed ledgers and not Bitcoin. Here are some of the statements:
Willem Buiter, chief economist at Citi said:
“We know that bitcoin itself is a complete failure and shows the number one law of programming and software: that anything that can be programmed can be hacked. So nothing is completely secure.”
James Gorman, the chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley stated:
"It's not going to change everyone's life tomorrow."
John Cryan, co-chief executive of Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank, also mentioned the interest in Blockchain, rather than Bitcoin:
"Blockchain technology is interesting. Bitcoin, I don't think is."
IMF is still concerned about virtual currencies
During the conference the latest paper on virtual currencies was released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of IMF, cited it at the WEF on Wednesday:
“Virtual currencies (VCs) and especially their underlying technologies are a potentially important advance for the financial sector that could increase efficiency and financial inclusion, but can also serve as vehicles for money laundering, terrorism financing, and tax evasion.”
Game changing plans
Switzerland is the country with the most developed financial industry and most trusted banks in the world. The main conferences, like World Economic Forum also takes place exactly here in Davos. Possibly a new game changing innovation in the banking industry will come from Switzerland as well.
The swiss news and information platform swissinfo.ch took an interview with Guido Rudolphi, who plans to create the world’s first Bitcoin bank in Switzerland. He expressed much more optimistic statements about the future of Bitcoin. He told us:
“I am not for one second concerned for bitcoin. It is not doomed. This whole discussion reminds me of the time the internet started. We have had these discussions about bitcoin before, but they have never been filled with such drama.”
- Guido Rudolphi
He believes that while some investors now want this technology to go faster and to gain profit as soon as possible it is better from a “technology standpoint” that it is “growing slower whilst remaining secure”.
Guido Rudolphi has also pointed out the possible future of companies that are looking forward to Blockchain without Bitcoin.
“A few companies have jumped on the train. They want bitcoin technology without using bitcoin. My prediction is that they will fail.”
Moreover, Richard Branson again expressed his interest in Bitcoin and Blockchain startups. This time Sir Richard Branson expressed his wish to invest in IT-specialists from Ukraine, a country with one of the fastest growing Blockchain industry in Eastern Europe:
Sir Richard Branson wants to invest in Ukrainian startups. fintech/Bitcoin/blockchain #Davos2016 #WEF pic.twitter.com/gbA0qqGnaq— Andrey Kolodyuk (@AndreyKolodyuk) January 22, 2016