TECHNOLOGY

Betting on the Block: Fintech Founders Are Bullish About Blockchain This 2018

The blockchain revolution is steadily picking up steam

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BY Tricia V. Morente - 05 Jan 2018

Betting on the Block: Fintech Founders Are Bullish About Blockchain This 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The frenzy surrounding the more than $100 billion cryptocurrency market and last year’s series of initial coin offering (ICO) deals bespeaks only the tip of the iceberg as far as blockchain technology’s potential is concerned.

Last 2017, the disruptive, decentralized ledger, touted to shift the Internet of Information into the Internet of Value, saw wide-ranging use cases across different sectors like advertising, logistics, healthcare, property, and energy, among others.

Moving forward into the new year, what can we expect of the revolutionary technology?

Southeast Asia-based fintech founders dish out their fearless forecasts — and what they intend to do about it:

Agility is the name of the game

Pavel Bains, CEO and co-founder of Bluzelle, shares he sees two big trends. “Established $50 million plus revenue business with a customer base adopting blockchain technologies will leap ahead of their big competitors. For example, logistics companies can use blockchain to improve their operations and pay out drivers, etc. Big logistics companies will take too long to decide — the smaller ones will now take the lead,” says Bains, adding that infrastructure blockchain companies like Bluzelle will start gaining traction.

“Consumer apps on the blockchain cannot succeed with the proper infrastructure of a decentralized Internet. People will notice the roads first need to be solid before you put cars on them,” he states.

More solutions to real-world problems will be delivered via blockchain

While 2017 saw the fintech space rallying around cryptocurrency, Martin Lim, COO of decentralized retail electricity marketplace Electrify, sees the technology being leveraged to find solutions to common social problems. He also points to a “significant institutional presence from banking and payments” in this regard.

“As the market’s knowledge and understanding about blockchain technology mature, we are embarking on the next wave of innovation. Along with our offering of blockchain solutions for the electricity market, we should see a maturing of other offerings in 2018 as more legitimate businesses turn to ICOs as a viable avenue for fund raising,” Lim reckons, adding that he expects more VC funds gravitating towards ICOs and pulling other institutional funds in their wake.

“This will lead to an even more bullish outcome for cryptocurrencies as the whole ecosystem gains greater momentum. This should bring more scrutiny and greater demand for business fundamentals as speculators give way to the institutions in the competition for ICO funding,” he states.

Ring in the Regulators

Among last year’s attention-grabbing blockchain and cryptocurrency headlines include country-wide bans on ICOs by China and South Korea, with other countries issuing warnings for those dipping their toes into virtual currencies.

With all the attention that public blockchains have been getting from mainstream media and the general public, Justin Leow, Head of Business Operations for Coins.ph, points out: “We will probably start to see the regulatory bodies from an increasing number of countries come out with formal stances and regulatory regimes around their use.”

Leow also predicts, “In terms of private blockchain technology development being pursued by various regional banks and blockchain consortiums to reduce overhead costs of internal settlement systems, we’ll probably mostly see further development of proof of concepts like the solutions built on top of Singapore’s Project Ubin. Hopefully, we’ll start to see some of these make it out into live production, like the new settlement system being rolled out by the Australian Stock Exchange.”

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