Treasury Technology
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Blockchain – Disruption or Hype?

by Jean-Marc Servat, Chairman, The European Association of Corporate Treasurers (EACT)

This month’s EACT column is not about upcoming potentially harmful regulations, but about a technology that could both disrupt our financial world and bring opportunities to treasurers and the companies they serve.

Until recently, blockchain was a term only known to geeks and specialists. But in the last six months it has become a buzzword among bankers. On October 31, The Economist put Blockchain on its front cover.

What is sometimes called ‘distributed ledger technology’ was created in 2008 and is the underlying algorithm to the bitcoin cryptocurrency. Let’s not focus on the dark uses of bitcoin or even the debatable use as a currency with no central bank controlling the monetary mass. Blockchain potential goes far beyond cryptocurrencies.

On September 29, 2015, the R3 initiative ( announced that 13 banks had joined its partnership, taking the total number of financial institutions to 21. Barclays, BBVA, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Royal Bank of Scotland, State Street, UBS , were joined by Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Citi, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, National Australia Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, SEB, Société Générale and Toronto-Dominion Bank. Their objective is to develop commercial applications for this emerging technology in the global financial services industry.