• BTblock

BTblock on Bloomberg: Oppenheimer Blockchain Summit Highlights Vibrant Ecosystem

David Garrity, Partner at BTblock, discusses current real-world applications using blockchain technology. Hosted by Abramowicz and Paul Sweeney.

Oppenheimer Blockchain Summit Highlights Vibrant Ecosystem With Institutional Investor Engagement

Last week BTblock participated in the Oppenheimer Blockchain Summit conference and spoke as part of the Blockchain Implementation panel discussion. The event highlighted the vibrant ecosystem that has developed around the blockchain sector, a level of vitality underscored by the solid level of institutional investor interest judging by the strong attendance. Note recent news that pension and endowment funds (e.g. University of Michigan) have made positive allocations to the sector and well-regarded pension consultants (e.g. Cambridge Associates) consider the sector as constituting an asset class for long-term investment allocation. At the conference, participants such as Consensys Capital are moving forward with investment activities centered on blockchain as constituting the next generation of the world wide web that will enable the digitization of all assets, the automation of agreements and the deployment of self-sovereign identity.

With the widescale deployment of blockchain thought to be a decade-long process in which the sector is now perhaps in its second year, it is thought that as was the case with early internet "intranets" it will be in private/permissioned blockchains that the critical early experimentation takes place. As such, private/permissioned blockchains initially are the area where investors should focus to see how enterprises develop best practices. Over time, as blockchain applications scale, enterprise deployments will need to have interoperability engrained in order to ensure the private blockchain remains relevant as public blockchains become predominant. For now, private/permissioned blockchains primarily apply to enterprises and consortiums and their supply chains, an area where BTblock has developed expertise. 

JPMorgan Deploying The JPM Coin Offers Large Scale Global Blockchain Deployment

Along with the Oppenheimer conference, the recent announcement from JPMorganChase that it is l

launching the JPM Coin, a JPMorgan-backed "crypto-currency" that will be pegged 1:1 to the US Dollar is a major step forward for blockchain. As the JPM Coin is centralized (i.e. in that each coin is backed Dollar-for-Dollar by JPMorganChase), only permissioned clients will have access to the coin. To our view, the JPM Coin as a fiat-backed, bank stablecoin could usher in a future of "un-fungible money" in which the money could have a distinct set of use rules attached to it. Use cases involved could range widely such as start-up investors placing restrictions on how funds could be spent (e.g. allocation to marketing programs, not unnecessary office space), charity donors could specify that funds go direct to beneficiaries (i.e. not to administrative overhead) or with parents funding college expenses that funds go to textbooks (i.e. not beer). Presently, the ways used to exercise such control over the use of fund disbursements are cumbersome and require substantial human oversight. The ability to program spending controls into fund transfers may represent a meaningful step forward in supporting the greater deployment of blockchain in everyday life. If JPMorganChase has undertaken this kind of initiative, it will be difficult for its competitors not to follow.