businessman working with new modern computer show social network structure

Lighthouse Partners hosted an all-day Blockchain conference earlier this month in San Francisco, bringing together Financial Services, IT vendors, blockchain IT vendors, among others:

attendeesA lot of the conversation was around how each attendee’s industry could benefit from using blockchain protocol specially as it relates to:  Tracking documents, ensure safe transactions, and using it in financial services.

Spencer Bogart started off by sharing a white paper on the Blockchain as a key enabler of the Internet of Value.  It’s peer-to-peer, it minimizes points of required trust, it’s open source, it has minimal barriers of entry, and it’s anti-fragile:  It grows better in response to shocks.  Key blockchain application and use cases include: Payments – reduced transaction fees since direct settlement between two parties, it enables micropayments which allows for small value transactions to take place and allows consumers without bank accounts to transact without physical cash; Smart Contracts – a software protocol that performs a function when certain conditions are met; Internet of Things – Privacy and security has been a major concern for connected devices.  A great amount of personal data is collected from these devices and managed through a centralized system.  Blockchain allows users to transact with who, with what (information) and when they choose to; Digital identity – allows consumers to control their personal information and only share with who they choose, and for businesses, it’d allow seamless exchanges and lower the costs of identify verification, to name a few.

John Wolpert, Global Blockchain Offering Director at IBM, was next.  He emphasized the concern for privacy and security.  Any system designed with blockchain protocol should be tamper-resistant, immutable, modular and scalable, with identity which is auditable.

Bruce Pon, founder and CEO of Ascribe, shared how his company is focusing on intellectual property. He shared a white paper on a scalable blockchain database, the BIGCHAINdb, a first public blockchain database with scale to have high throughput, high capacity, low latency, rich permissioning and with query capabilities. A few use-cases:

  • Settlements:  Determine exposure in real-time; streamline back office functions and faster reconciliations
  • Supply chain:  Prevent fraud via transparency; detect fraud and leakage using analytics; and see bottlenecks and delays in real-time
  • Payments:  Reduce risk and cost of escrow; reduce time to transmit funds; and provide audit trail and receipts

Other interesting presentations include:

  1. Smart contract which are self-verifying and self-executable providing proof of performance between two parties, presented by Sergei Nazarov, Co-founder and CEO of SmartContract
  2. Ethereum overview and applications – BlockApps STRATO is a scalable Ethereum platform which allows a web developer to create use cases and test proof-of-concepts, then scale it all the way to full production systems, presented by Kieren James-Lubin, Founder & Chief Data Scientist at BlockApps
  3. Blockchain business accelerators for financial services

It’ll be interesting to see how companies in the IT and financial space start seeing value and adopting blockchain into their key systems.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, if the large banks and credit card companies don’t start integrating this technology, someone else will, it’s just a matter of time.  Money20/20 will certainly show where this application is making leeway (or not)!