by Tanya Knowles, Executive Director of Fractal Solutions, a Division of Strate (Pty) Ltd
There is a frenetic and rather exciting energy amongst many financial service institutions. Boardroom debates and conference agendas are quickly morphing from staid conversations on risk management and regulation to fintech, the internet of things and most noteworthy the potential disruption by blockchain technology. As with all new and exciting innovations, there is something of a dichotomy between the technology visionaries and the Luddites of the industry. However, one thing is certain: those operating in the financial markets cannot maintain their current status quo and need to embrace new thinking which is in line with the exciting changes that lie ahead.
No article on blockchain seems complete without describing it as the distributed ledger technology that underpins bitcoin. Yet industry debates in recent months have matured far beyond this definition to focus on the additional applications of this technology.
At a high level, a blockchain is a single distributed ledger that anyone can view, with the option of no single participant or authority in control. It is collectively kept up to date and transactions are immutably recorded and cryptographically stored. The technology has the potential to provide credibility and trust to the ecosystem with built-in smart logic and high levels of automation.