The future of finance


IBM, Microsoft, Google and Facebook are experimenting with blockchain technology.

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies could transform the financial system.

In today’s world, carrying out transactions has become a ­relatively straightforward process especially since the arrival of online banking.

However, the system is not perfect as it involves many intermediaries such as banks, credit card companies and the Swift network.

As many parties are involved, it can result in higher administrative and transaction costs, which are usually passed on to the payer and the payee.

Enter blockchain which doesn’t require third parties so ­transactions are seamless with lower fees. Removing the ­middlemen also creates a self-­governing, autonomous business model.

Even tech giants such as IBM, Microsoft, Google and Facebook have started experimenting with blockchain technology.

According to Forbes, all 10 of the largest public companies on the Forbes Global 2000 list are ­exploring blockchain and at least 50 of the biggest names on it have made their own mark with the technology.

Although blockchain ­technology is still in its infancy, it is widely used worldwide, as it is the backbone of cryptocurrencies such at Bitcoin and Ether (which is based on the Ethereum ­blockchain).

In Zimbabwe and Venezuela, for example, cryptocurrencies have been growing in popularity as alternatives to the countries’ own currencies which have been badly affected by hyperinflation.

And Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have also been turning to cryptocurrency as they have no access to PayPal.

Cryptocurrency makes cross-border trade easy, allowing them to reconnect with the global ­economy.

Also, new blockchain protocols and Dapps – or decentralised apps – have entered the scene in the hopes of introducing a more ­transparent system for the ­mortgage sector.

As it doesn’t require ­intermediaries, house buyers can also look forward to lower fees.

For instance, Fusion is a ­blockchain that integrates smart contracts so house sellers, buyers and brokers can interact in a “trustless” fashion.

The lender has peace of mind knowing that if the borrower ­cannot pay back the loan, the financial institute will ­immediately be granted custody of the property via the smart ­contract’s self-executing legal agreements.

Beyond that, the Fusion protocol will also allow property owners to “tokenise” their houses, giving them full ownership of their ­property on a secure and tamper-free distributed ledger.

If you want to find out more, Dejan Qian, the founder of Fusion, will be presenting The Future Of Value Transfer on day one of Blocfest 2018, scheduled to take place at the Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, on Sept 26 and 27.

You’ll also get to network with people who are developing ­technologies based on blockchain during the KL Blockchain Week, from Sept 24 and 27, which also includes a ­hackathon.

Those interested in attending can get 40% off VIP ­tickets priced at US$450 (RM1,860) or normal ­tickets priced at US$375 (RM1,550) by keying in the promo code BLOC40D ­during checkout but this offer is only ­available for a limited time. Visit www.blocfest.asia for more ­information.


   

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