Blockchain Maturing: Banking & Finance Evolve

(Disclosure: I was a co-producer of this event)

Like a bevy of bobble heads, most tech event panels end up with the smart, accomplished panelists nodding at the consensus reached. This was not the case in last week’s Banking on Blockchain, sponsored by TechForwardNYC.

The event on Thursday, July 18th with General Assembly sponsoring the space, featured invited respected figures in the blockchain and finance space: Kate Lam of Ideanomics, Ian Harvey of MakerDAO, Peter Borovykh of BlockchainDriven and Gal Eldar of AirSwap. 

Banking on Blockchain full audience

The panelists, each working in a different area associated with blockchain technology, had a spirited debate on DeFi (Decentralized Finance), what it is and what it can do. Regulation was a topic that regularly came up and there were differences of opinion on how much regulation is appropriate. The promise of accessing financial services from anywhere where phone service is available was also a topic, especially in countries where much of the population does not have access to regular financial services.

Kate Lam of Ideanomics proposed that near-term, all the talk about DeFi was pressuring banks to operate more efficiently and to pass along those gains in lower costs to customers. And while she’s optimistic that blockchain will deliver benefits, she cautioned people and companies not to rush to replace the dollar since it works well for most people.

One moment of brief fireworks happened when a panelist proposed that international foreign exchange money transfers typically charge 10% fees. An audience member took issue with that and said that she could transfer funds to her native Georgia (Eastern Europe, not the US state) for 1 – 2%. This quickly devolved into a yes/no set of assertions. Sometimes we all have to agree to disagree.

Something all the panelists could all agree on was the idea that the technologies and regulatory environment are still in their early stages (crypto people are fond of saying “It’s early days”)

Tidbits of Info

Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC): Ian Harvey of MakerDAO mentioned his company will be implementing WBTC on their platform and by doing so, would be able to have vastly more capital to support their Dai stablecoin. Keep an eye on this one. It has big implications.

All in all, this was an evening rich in information, lively discussion, and plenty of networking opportunities

TechForwardNYC event volunteers

Pictured: The TechForward NYC team and volunteers

Event Sponsors 

NYC BigApps Has recently been hosting events and workshops. NYC BigApps Blockchain convenes “designers, developers, academics, entrepreneurs and individuals” to define and solve problems using blockchain applications.

TaxMap will be launching a free “blockchain based accounting ecosystem” for companies to streamline accounting, payments and taxes all in one place. TaxMap has identified the challenges that companies encounter when dealing with payment processes and will make solving them easier. 

Fusion is building a new infrastructure for decentralized global finance. “Issues currently in the blockchain space [are] the inability for blockchains to interact with each other. We have developed a mechanism to enable seamless interaction between different blockchains.”

BlockchainDriven provides blockchain solutions for world governments, large corporations, and innovative startups. Their blockchain solutions are applied to many different industries and they are known for transforming ideas into practical solutions.

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