The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here, and one of the new technologies most likely to change the game is blockchain. Handled correctly, this technology could have a huge number of potential applications across many different sectors. But big questions persist: how can it be harnessed, how should it be regulated and will its links to cryptocurrencies be its downfall?
These were some of the issues discussed last week (10 May) by experts at a forum hosted by transatlantic law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) at the Millbank Media Centre in London. The event Blockchain: Game changer or game over?, which follows on from WBD's first Fintech Forum at The London Stock Exchange in November 2016, brought together a panel of industry leaders and researchers to discuss the latest blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) trends and breakthroughs, how the technology is already being used across a range of industries and how businesses and organisations can prepare for what is coming next.
The panel was moderated by WBD Legal Director Malcolm Dowden and was joined by keynote speaker Lord Holmes of Richmond MBE, Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain and author of the influential House of Lords report ‘Distributed Ledger Technologies For Public Good’, to which WBD contributed. They were joined by panellists Nicole Sandler, Vice President for fintech and regtech and EMEA Legal Lead at Barclays; Simon Bailey, Founder and CEO of Finarchy; and Geoffrey Goodell, Senior Research Associate in computer science at UCL.
Alastair Mitton, Partner and Head of Fintech at WBD in the UK, said:
"Across our transatlantic network of offices in the UK and the USA, our teams are involved in a wide range of blockchain and DLT initiatives and we are already assisting clients across a variety of sectors with regulatory and compliance issues and implementation strategies. Blockchain has become a growing trend for us and with the pace that the technology is moving, it's important that we continue to stay on top of things in this area so we know what the opportunities are for our firm and our clients."
Malcolm Dowden added:
"We had a fantastic debate last week with great insight from our speakers on the compelling use cases of blockchain, not only for financial services but also in industries like manufacturing, supply chains and shipping. The engagement from the audience was brilliant too and we had some enthralling questions on the application of blockchain, how and by whom it should be regulated and how secure it is against fraud and cyber-attacks. It was great to hear the debates still continuing throughout our post-event drinks reception."
You can read more about the event by reading Malcolm Dowden's follow up articles on LinkedIn: