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The Internet of Value: Blockchain and Financial Services Innovation

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28th Sep 2016

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'The Internet of Value: Blockchain and Financial Services Innovation' - is a new summit focusing on the blockchain technologies, which are poised to rewrite the back-end of banks and financial institutions while providing new architectures for transaction management across many industries.

Diving into the implications, Simon Dixon, co-founder and CEO of BnkToTheFuture.com discussed whether he thought 2016 will be 'the year of the Blockchain' and addressed issues surrounding banking that leads to the creation of digital assets like Bitcoin. Simon suggested considering the progression of Bitcoin and blockchains thus far, with no indication this will be slowing down anytime soon. In his view to fully recover from the financial crisis, society needs to follow 3 steps - "reform the big banks, put the relationship back into banking through local and community banks, and allow people to get funded through crowdfunding and digital currencies".

John Thornhill, Innovation Editor of the Financial Times spoke on 'how digital currencies and distriputed ledgers are changing the marketplace'. Smart contracts, payments innovation and trade finance were just some of the topics up for disussion. Debates surrounded the issues on identity, where Alexsander Nowak, CIO of BlockEx offered that identity is a very key and important function that needs to be developed on the blockchain to ensure individual user control over crucial data.

Risks and opportunties of the Blockchain revolution shaped a panel discussion led by the Joon Ian Wong, technology reporter from Quartz. Security and fraud issues remain a major concern for any emerging techonology in the financial services sector. In response, Pavlo Tanasyuk, Founder and CEO of BlockVerify outlined their blockchain based anti-counterfeit solution which identifies fraudulant transactions and counterfeit goods through their system - an example of innovation in the sector.

Later, a rapid-fire start-up showcase provided a platform to discover new and exciting cases for Blockchain. Tallysticks was a particular stand-out - a great new software that leverages distributed ledger technology to make invoicing, invoice financing and securitisation more seamless and efficient. The showcase provided a start to the afternoon and gave an inspiring look into new technologies harnessing Blockchain. It also gave these start-ups a valuable chance to pitch to potential clients and investors.

The last session of the day was separated into two roundtable discussions - 1. Capital Markets and Custody and 2. The Legal and Regulatory Landscape. Discussions centered around the impact Blockchain will have on each sector and how it is posied to deliver a radical shake-up throughout the industry. Smart contracts and digital identity were also a hot topic, especially how the legal landscape is currently equipped to deal with digital assets and digital rights.