Bitcoin is not only well past its fraternity-inspired infancy, but is here to stay and is now rapidly becoming an…
Bitcoin is not only well past its fraternity-inspired infancy, but is here to stay and is now rapidly becoming an integral part of the technology infrastructure within large financial institutions, many of which are investing vast amounts of capital into the development of blockchain.
The sudden transformation from peer-to-peer aspirations of disrupting the mainstream currency world by circumventing central banks to provide a digital marketplace which ranged from anonymous websites on the dark web to whole transactional ecosystems which put the fiscal power in the hands of the people, to an institutional technology provision which can automate certain previously labor intensive systems within banks, elevated Bitcoin from its status as the darling of the mavericks and in some cases vocal anarchists, to today’s standing as a major fintech development tool.
Bitcoin’s intrinsic reliance on blockchain as an integral part of its technology, that being a distributed database, introduced in Bitcoin, that maintains a continuously-growing list of data records that each refer to previous items on this list and is thus hardened against tampering and revision, is the aspect that the fintech investors and mutinational financial institutions are interested in.
The initial and most widely known application of blockchain technology is the public ledger of transactions for Bitcoin, which can be applied to many other purposes in banking.
Today, Blythe Masters, the former Citi senior executive who led the development of credit default swaps during her tenure at the firm, has been appointed to Chair of the Governing Board of The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, and no less than 10 new companies have joined the project including Blockstream, Bloq, eVue Digital Labs, Gem, itBit, Milligan Partners, Montran Labs, Ribbit.me, Tequa Creek Holdings and Thomson Reuters.
The Linux Foundation is taking the development of automated ledgers by means of blockchain technology very seriously, and, led by Ms. Masters, who currently stands as CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, is drafting in some specialist Bitcoin technologists to the Governing Board, who will work alongside Ms. Masters, these being Charles Cascarilla, CEO, itBit, and and Craig Young, CTO, SWIFT. The Technical Steering Committee Chair is Chris Ferris, a distinguished engineer and CTO of open technology at IBM.
Ms. Masters stated yesterday
“The Hyperledger Project is gaining traction on a daily basis, displaying how vital this effort is in advancing distributed ledger technology. Uniting the industry to drive this initiative forward is paramount to the success of distributed ledger technology. The Linux Foundation and its members are collaborating on an open source infrastructure that will increase privacy and scalability, among many other benefits.”
Chris Ferris of, IBM added: “These member investments demonstrate that blockchain technology continues to grow in importance as the alternative approach to multinational business transactions. By providing a community for members to collaborate and contribute to an open source blockchain solution, we’re able to advance the technology collectively and ultimately drive quicker adoption and higher value across industries.”
Blockchain viewed by IBM executives as ultra-modern, and by Blockstream president as ‘the bleeding edge of computer science.’
“Blockchain technology is at the bleeding edge of computer science and ushers in a new paradigm of programmable trust,” said Dr. Adam Back, president of Blockstream. “We’re excited to offer our operational blockchain experience and collaborate with members of the Hyperledger Project to advance new applications of open ledger technology.”
This development represents a further step toward fintech disruption, and echoes the viewpoint of former Coinsetter CEO Jaron Lukasiewicz, who explained to FinanceFeeds CEO Andrew Saks-McLeod during a meeting in New York in the summer of 2015
“It is essential to understand how the blockchain technology is competitive, and who is using it. There is growth in the remittance use these days, so it is slowly displacing Western Union and MoneyGram at sometimes similar rates, and can be even done at much less cost, a tenth, but no consumers really try that. Companies are also trying to rival Transferwise which is taking Bitcoin into direct competition with deliverable FX”
“If bitcoin comes to you from somewhere, you don’t have to trust the institution or counterparty, and can credit an account quickly because of that. When you start creating Blockchains or tokens for fiat currencies that can be turned around really quickly and can speed up bank transfers which is important for the FX industry, but for this to work, trust relationships have to be built up between all institutions” he concluded.
Now taking time out in California after the sale of his company, Mr. Lukasiewicz can reflect on his views in the knowledge that he was indeed correct.
With banks investing several million dollars in the continued development of blockchain technology, the value and standing of Bitcoin is likely to be more dependent on its place as a technological mainstay within recognized institutions and software companies rather than a pariah reserved for those wishing to bypass the exact system that has now embraced it.
Featured Photograph: IBM’s Blue Gene/P supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Illinois.