What does SIBOS hold for DLT?
The agenda for this year’s SIBOS has noticeably fewer DLT-related sessions than last year, and given much of the financial services commentary over the past 6 months, you might feel AI has overtaken DLT / blockchain as the topic of interest for the industry. Without doubt, the number of column inches written about DLT has tailed off and Gartner’s latest Hype Cycle for Emerging technologies (July 2017) puts blockchain just past the peak of inflated expectations. Perhaps, after all, it’s been decided that blockchain is just another fad that will disappear as quickly as it arrived?
I’m not convinced; for me, the reality is quite different and the reduction in hype this year is more a reflection of how the technology is maturing. There was a tangible sense of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) in 2016 with everyone wanting to jump on the blockchain bandwagon and claim a ‘first’ for their bank; but what was produced were little more than basic prototypes. This year, what we’ve seen is that groups of banks, software vendors, industry consortia and regulators have started to mobilise projects to deliver Production blockchain applications. Most projects are not yet at the point of having something ‘real’ to publicise (although Commerzbank’s trading of an ECP is a notable front-runner) but as we move into 2018, we expect there to be a flurry of announcements about genuine financial transactions being executed on a blockchain.
This year has also seen the expected consolidation in the DLT ecosystem, as most companies focus in on one of three DLT platforms: Hyperledger Fabric, JPMorgan’s Quorum (as part of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance) and R3’s Corda. This year has also seen the expected consolidation in the DLT ecosystem, as most companies focus in on one of three DLT platforms: Hyperledger Fabric, JPMorgan’s Quorum (as part of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance) and R3’s Corda. In parallel, there are single-stack applications such as Ripple which has continued to gain traction.
So what do we expect to see at SIBOS? Well, there will undoubtedly be a number of blockchain-related announcements during the week (although R3 have cleverly got in there a couple of weeks early) but most of all there will be more blockchain deals being struck and alliances being formed in the annual melting pot of software vendors, systems integrators and banks. And as for Swift themselves? Having arrived a little late to the blockchain party, they’ve been running a cross-border payment prototype with 22 banks from around the world which will be demoed and the results presented at SIBOS.
SIBOS takes place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre between 16 and 19 October, so it’s also worth mentioning Ripple, who now have over 75 companies using their blockchain-based cross-border payments system – they have set up their own industry event. In Toronto. In the same week…!
DLT continues to be a fascinating technology and I’d be delighted to talk about it with any SIBOS attendees – see you there.