Blockchain Technology

Blockchain is probably one of the first buzzwords that we should demystify. Obviously, you need to understand some basics, such as the meaning of a distributed – or more nicely expressed ‘shared’ – computerised ledger. This shared ledger allows users who do not know or trust each other to automatically keep track of every detail in their negotiation. A complex architecture underpinning their exchange, is designed to prevent manipulation, and very effectively rules out fraudulent behaviour. This can be useful in many situations, not only for payments. Think of diamond and drugs trade, smart contracts, or storing and sharing any kind of digital assets.

To really get to grips with the latest FinTech buzzword, Professor Bjorn Cumps talks to Simon Taylor (11:FS) about the essence of blockchain and how it works.

We had the opportunity to talk to Iain Stewart, code wizard and bitcoin researcher at Imperial College. His message is that “we don’t need a 49th way to pay for coffee”, as currently we probably have enough easy and affordable options. He points out that we shouldn’t focus on what blockchain is, moreover, we have to find out when blockchain makes sense! Blockchain first surfaced in cryptocurrency applications such as Bitcoin, which showed us that we don’t need a third party – a middleman – to successfully process transactions between users. It can all be done digitally by a distributed computer network secured by cryptography, which makes transactions much more resistant to fraud, and obviously makes them cheaper. Nevertheless, blockchain technology and its popstar Bitcoin should no longer be confused. That’s why a talk by Simon Taylor, co-founder of 11:FS and former Barclays blockchain tsar, is a genuine revelation. Simon understands blockchain technology in a much broader sense.

#1 FinTech Futures: Demystifying Blockchain

26 OCTOBER 2016
Blockchain technology is revolutionising how we process transactions – so it’s no surprise it was the topic of our first FinTech Futures event. A total of 167 executives joined blockchain experts Simon Taylor (11:FS), Thomas Lecok (ING) and Hemakiran Gupta (TCS) to discuss the opportunities for integrating blockchain into your organisation. Get all the insights from the evening.

Are you interested to follow the plenary session by Simon Taylor? Check the uncut version here and download the slide decks by Simon Taylor (11:FS) and Thomas Lecok (ING).

Simon Taylor, Co-founder 11:FS

“What is really interesting about blockchain is not bitcoin, it is the theory. We cannot explain or grasp blockchain because we don't have context yet. Remember people talking about 'the web'?”

In 2016, Simon co-founded 11:FS, the most exciting FinTech consultancy group around. Before joining 11:FS, this blockchain tsar, established Barclays as one of the leaders in blockchain thinking and doing. Simon also helped a variety of startups flourish, through Barclays Tech Stars accelerator, recently rebranded Rise open innovation programme. Another impressive example is Corda, a proof of concept experiment Simon carried out with the R3 network, which cut the settlement time on securities contracts from 90 hours to 3 minutes.

Thomas Lecok, Blockchain expert ING

“Essentially building a new service or moving an existing one to a blockchain means starting again with a blank page, with all the advantages and disadvantages that brings along”

Thomas joined ING’s payment domain at the IT side and later evolved towards a product management role. Thomas made the journey from understanding what the technology is about and where it can best be used towards developing and building concrete use cases. He had the pleasure of working in an international environment where he was in contact with experts from FinTech, other banks, regulators and clients. He was the ING representative in Febelfin and the Dutch Payments Association.

Hemakiran (Kiran) Gupta, Head of BFS Europe Tata Consultancy Services

“For now, our banking clients  are seriously investing in blockchain. Whether blockchain delivers or not, remains to be seen.”

After joining TCS in 1993 in a hands on technical role, Kiran moved up the ranks to be the regional head of banking and financial services for the company in Mainland Europe. Along with helping build and nurture long term relationships with clients,  Kiran has been personally involved in various market initiatives like Crest, SIX Securities, Euro, PSD2 to name a few.

& Rankings

Equis Association of MBAs AACSB Financial Times