A new report by electronics and technology giant Ericsson has voiced support for cryptocurrencies, their practical applications as well as the blockchain in a further example of the changing outlook among big business.
The report, compiled together with research studies by Imperial College, London, calls cryptocurrencies “[t]he most significant forces for industrial disruption within the financial services.”
Ericsson included crypotcurrencies as part of a wider publication regarding the role of information and communications technology (ICT) in the future of finance. Mainstream enterprises such as IBM and Samsung have been actively involved with blockchain technology for some time, and although Ericsson’s stance has hitherto remained theoretical, the buoyant tone of its report may well invite speculation as to possible future projects.
“As a result, these solutions can create not just a new financial system but can also trigger entirely new forms of corporate enterprises,” the report continues, with Ericsson seemingly acknowledging the technology as a basis for commerce in line with many of the cryptocurrency industry’s current players:
“Cryptocurrencies hold the potential to disrupt not just financial services but a significant majority of social and governance practices as well.”
Conspicuous in Ericsson’s literature, which goes on to present the potential of cryptocurrency APIs in some detail in addition to a basic outline of the industry, is a carefully-structured understanding and use of terms. Mention is made, for example, of the need to distinguish cryptocurrency from mere digital currency (“cryptocurrencies are also a collection of protocols and transaction programming languages”) and underline its added use in practice (“Cryptocurrencies are therefore able to act as a platform for 3rd party financial services, not just as a replacement for money and banking systems”).
This language comes courtesy of collaborators Imperial College, a research fellow for whom reiterated the distinction in a promotional video Ericsson uploaded to YouTube in December.
“… It’s not just putting money into a digital form, it’s actually something quite new emerging,” Dr. Catherine Mulligan explained. “… You can think of these currencies very much as an API for money.”
It is not just business which is touched on: empowering of the consumer is also given attention. “Anyone with sufficient computational capacity – even a mobile device is enough – can now provide the same services as large scale banks such as Lloyds, HSBC or Bank of America,” the report adds.
Mulligan was also keen to highlight this specific point:
“[Trust created in the network] enables people to build their own financial services on top of that […] you could create not just your own bank, but your own insurance services, you could create your own escrow – all these different kinds of services which are built around trust […].”
It is not until regulatory stances are dealt with that some more critical perspective is unveiled. Ericsson refers to “pseudo-democratic currency” when discussing the attitudes of international governments, which when taken into consideration together with the report’s careful wording makes for a curious addition. Nonetheless, the company’s support for underlying digital technology is indisputable, making Ericsson an interesting figure to watch in the coming year.
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