Blockchain in 2020 Part 2

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How does blockchain avoid its Kodak moment? What will 2020 bring for an industry that is looking at the drive for interoperability? What has Mark Zuckerberg got up his sleeve next? Will the real Satoshi Nakamoto announce themselves and start becoming a ubiquitous feature on reality TV shows? All will be revealed for the final time in Part 2 of Blockchain in 2020.

When I first started working on technology conferences in 2009, I produced an event called ‘Planet of the Apps’. Nokia was the chief target for sponsorship and the main keynote came from a Finnish chap who called himself the ‘Mighty Eagle’, at an up and coming games developer called Rovio. That apps conference ceased to be many years ago. Nokia will be studied for decades in business schools across the Western World as a missed opportunity, and when was the last time you played Angry Birds?

My point being a lot of the buzz around the App economy; was simply that of a bubble. Apps very quickly went from the ‘peak of inflated expectations’ to the ‘trough of disillusionment’ and stayed there for a long time, until it reached a point that they were just ubiquitous.

For the late 2000s read apps, for the early 2020s one could potentially read blockchain.

This was touched upon last week by Ville Sointu. He is the gregarious Head of Emerging Technology, at Scandinavian banking powerhouse, Nordea. He stated ‘All the hard work still needs to be done the old way’. Meaning in this world of post crypto bubbles federation models (working together) may be the way forward in achieving success and avoid the trough of disillusionment. The industry cannot simply rest on its laurels if it is going to achieve the ubiquity it craves.

I wanted the opinion of more pioneers like Ville; those innovators who are closer than anyone to the metaphorical coalface. Therefore, I asked a few more blockchain leads at major financial institutions that are at the advanced stage of DLT adoption on their thoughts on blockchain in 2020.

Here is what a few more of them had to say

“2019 was the year of consolidation for ING, harvesting our hard work and focus by going into production.  We succeeded on launching our first commercially live applications, bringing the technology to an estate of enterprise usage, while coping with the requirements a financial institution like ING has.

In 2020, we are looking at to achieve the next level of maturity, enhancing our DLT blueprint on different fabric further within the organisation and making sure it is scalable enough to support the deployment of the next generation of applications we have under our development pipeline. For this purpose, additional exploration on the areas of standardization, interoperability and privacy will be crucial.”

Mariana Gomez, Program Director Distributed Ledger Technology at ING


"What I can say about the development of blockchain in financial industry is that in my opinion tokenization remains the main topic still. Due to the ongoing change in regulations of crypto assets I think that banks will see an opportunity in offering custody for virtual assets as well."

Tomasz Sienicki, Blockchain Strategy Lead, Alior Bank


“The hype around Blockchain is fading, and many of the initial overpromising statements are deflating as time goes by. However, the technological capabilities blockchain provides are clear to most practitioners and as such, several companies are silently building real solutions. What is still to be determined is the adoption path to delivering these benefits. We started seeing many movements in digital assets around private securities as well as stable coins, but these had little impact to the well-established financial market infrastructures. End investors should be given simple solutions to deliver real efficiencies that are directly integrated into standard operating models across the value chain. Many of us are working on these practical issues in the year to come.”

Michele Curtoni, VP Digital Product Development, State Street


Therefore, it is clear that behind the scenes and beyond the buzz, blockchain is still striving forwards. Opportunities driven by collaboration are coming. Tokenisation is key. So ignore the cynics, 2020 will be blockchain’s year; a huge amount of potential is still to be achieved.