Blockchain technology is creating an unprecedented buzz in the financial world. Governments, banks, financial institutions, audit, and consulting firms, startups… all are investing in this network.
What is blockchain?
Blockchain is a technology that allows the secure exchange of information and therefore transactions between its users. This distributed database does not require a centralized administration or control body. Each user has a copy of all the transactions made and a unique key that allows him to access his account. Indeed, blockchain relies on a Peer-to-Peer protocol, cryptology and a set of controls called “hash” which, combined, generate a unique digital fingerprint per file. Transactions are grouped by blocks. Once the transactions have been checked and validated, the block is attached to the blockchain and the whole is available to everyone.
By its nature, the blockchain is a platform that generates trust.
The key points
Self-supporting security for a collaborative economy
The blockchain works like a ledger. All transactions are recorded, time-stamped and nothing can be deleted. A data modification is only validated if all users of the blockchain accept it. Thus:
- fewer reconciliations and verification tasks are required,
- the traceability of exchanges/transactions is assured,
- the certification of transactions is facilitated.
These characteristics inherent to a blockchain favor the development of a collaborative economic model and the absence of a control body.
Disintermediation that reduces administration and infrastructure costs
This new trusted third party is self-administered and self-controlled. It could, by 2022, generate savings of 15 to 20 billion dollars per year in the banking sector according to a Santander study. The use of a trusted third party such as central authorities or clearing houses would no longer be necessary.
In the banking sector, the use of a digital currency such as Bitcoin will considerably reduce the processing time of a transaction because the protocol automatically guarantees its origin. For example, an international bank transfer currently takes up to several days versus a few seconds with blockchain. Furthermore, “smart contracts”, programs coded in blockchain, allow the automatic execution of contracts. It is realistic to imagine that the payment of dividends or coupons will be automated according to a piece of information or a triggering event.
Disintermediation of our activities would allow us to reduce operational costs and invest in higher value-added activities.
A new model for our organizations, processes, and businesses
Blockchain applies to all types of data and tends towards increased dematerialization of our processes. In this sense, our organizations and our businesses will have to evolve and be rethought. Banks are impacted in their core business. They could use blockchain to create a more efficient interbank network and reduce administration and infrastructure costs. At the same time, redefine the missions of the middle and back office to focus on front office operations. But the public sector can also benefit. Social Security plans to create “a vast network enabling decentralized and distributed exchanges between Social Security funds, practitioners, pharmacists, hospitals and clinics.
Low-value-added activities are bound to disappear/evolve. It is therefore necessary that we develop the appropriate skills to meet the needs of this new market.
Blockchain will quickly become part of the life of companies and individuals by reinforcing the security of transactions and reducing their costs and processing times. Certain business models and value chains will be transformed. The questions that arise today are how to deal with it? How do we adapt? How can we change our standards, our organizations, our regulatory and legal framework? How can we reinvent our businesses? At Enkronos, we can help. Contact us today.