What Is the Future of Blockchain?

by Roger StrukhoffAugust 9, 2016
What is future of blockchain and technologies like Hyperledger or Ethereum? What issues large and small are emerging within this technology area? A diverse London panel addressed these and other questions.

A lively panel discussion was moderated by data science and blockchain consultant Yiseul Cho. In addition to Olivier Roucloux (finoryx) and Mark Simpson (Royal Bank of Scotland), the panel comprised Paul Ferris (ObjectChain), Leda Glyptis (Sapient Global Markets), Anish Mohammed (Lloyds Banking Group), and Imogen Garner (Norton Rose Fulbright).


Securing identities

Panel members riffed off the basic questions of what was most interesting about blockchain and how long it will take for widespread adoption.

Paul Ferris said that self-sovereign identity was the most interesting thing to him. “Today, your identity is held by many organizations in different ways and formats. It’s a broken system. But imagine you controlled your own identity and just gave organizations their required amount and not everything.”

Hyperledger July 19 London Fireside Chat Blockchain Ethereum Olivier Rouclox Mark Simpson Paul Ferris Leda Glyptis Anish Mohammed Imogen Garner 1

Leda Glyptis said her immersion into blockchain began when she encountered the idea of self-regulating securities, “with little backpacks saying you can’t touch it. So, there’s been energy channeled into smart contracts, which is re-imagining of the way we do things.”

“The blockchain technology represents (an approach) that fundamentally redefines our value chain.” —Leda Glyptis, Sapient Global Markets

Thinking along those lines, she also noted the reaction “could be fear or excitement. What is it we want to see adopted?” If an industry is about to be disrupted, for example, “How long will it take for people to fund their own demise?”

Hyperledger July 19 London Fireside Chat Blockchain Ethereum Olivier Rouclox Mark Simpson Paul Ferris Leda Glyptis Anish Mohammed Imogen Garner 2

Anish Mohammed demonstrated his security chops to the degree it seemed a separate meetup might be needed just to cover all of his expertise in the area. Nevertheless, he stressed that “this is not just a technical issue. What does it really mean not to have privacy, for a society not to have privacy?”

“What does it mean for a society not to have privacy?” —Anish Mohammed, Lloyds Banking Group


Dynamism vs. inertia

Imogen Garner noted the dynamism of this technology. “This is a sphere of activity in which developments happen quickly. But then, law and policy makers don’t act so quickly.”

Olivier Roucloux wondered whether the primary discussion should even be about blockchain or about things such as mobility, digitization, and changing customer behavior that may lead to the use of blockchain.

“What is the real trigger for blockchain?” he asked.

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A price of blockchain?

The ideas of revenue generation, cost, and viability itself were featured in the latter stages of discussion.

Mark Simpson had mentioned that “revenue generating things—not just reconciliation and derivatives, for example—are more interesting to me.”

Paul Ferris noted the promise of blockchain taking out billions upon billions of dollars (or pounds) in expenses, but also that blockchain’s roots in bitcoin “still scare a lot of people.”

“We’ve been working to convince politicians in the UK, for example, that not all blockchain proponents were gun runners and drug lords.” —Paul Ferris, ObjectChain

Oliver also noted, quite significantly, that he’s “never seen a price for what blockchain might actually cost, so any ROI analysis at this point is nonsense. There’s nothing concrete unless you prove there’s a metric that says how much it costs. Can (anyone) give a price to blockchain?”

Who can answer that question?


Want details? Watch the video!

Table of contents

  1. What’s the most ideal use case for blockchain? (7’00”)
  2. What’s the time frame for blockchain adoption in finance? (15’40”)
  3. How big of a concern is identity and privacy in the adoption of blockchain? (23’25”)
  4. How can we overcome the challenges in the adoption of blockchain? (33’00”)
  5. Q&A. Are quantum computers a threat to blockchain security? (41’34”)
  6. Q&A. What makes a bank a honeypot for hackers? (46’24”)
  7. Q&A. How will global companies like Google and Facebook experimenting on their own payment and inter-ledger solutions affect existing financial industries? (57’00”)



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About the panelists

Mark Simpson, Royal Bank of Scotland bio
Mark Simpson currently works in the Innovation Engineering team at RBS. He has over 20 years of development experience in both retail and wholesale banking and has designed and built portfolio for trading, algorithmic trading, trade processing, and reference data systems. He has also worked on risk, cash management, clearing, and data distribution systems in RBS. Mark has been working with the blockchain technologies since the beginning of 2016 and using them to build prototypes for use cases across the bank.


Olivier Roucloux, finoryx bio
Olivier Roucloux is a FinTech and innovation enthusiast with 20 years’ experience in financial markets. He is the founder of finoryx, a solution company leveraging the blockchain concept to increase operational efficiency in the financial services industry. Before being an entrepreneur, Olivier held senior positions in innovation, business development, strategy, or product management. He worked for Euronext, SWIFT, Euroclear, and couple of service providers; with experience in diverse working locations including Brussels, Paris, Luxembourg, and London.


Anish Mohammed, Blockchain Advisory Group bio
Anish Mohammed is an experienced technologist with multidisciplinary background who is passionate about technology. He has worked as researcher in security/cryptography both in industry and academia, with deep expertise in security architecture, security of big data, security analytics, cloud security, blockchain, and cryptography. Currently, Anish is focusing on big data and blockchain.


Leda Glyptis, Sapient Global Markets bio
Leda Glyptis is focused on providing digital business transformation consulting services; helping firms to define and deliver the right mix of business strategy, technology, and marketing initiatives to create bottom-line results. Areas of expertise include advising clients on fintech, digital technology, and their impact on the business and technology ecosystem. Her involvement in the blockchain space goes about three years back. Then, Leda was lucky to mentor and learn from startups who were early adopters of the bitcoin-based applications for financial services.


Paul Ferri, ObjectChain bio
Paul Ferris has led strategy, design, and development of substantial programs in business; encompassing finance, IT, marketing, and operations; delivering growth, capital investment, and profit for his employers and clients. Since applying cryptotechnologies to dealing systems over 10 years ago, his interest in the blockchain technologies has grown as their applications have become relevant for today’s business challenges.


Imogen Garner, Norton Rose Fulbright bio
Imogen Garner is a partner in Norton Rose Fulbright’s financial services regulatory team in London and is involved in blockchain and distributed ledger practice.