Former JP Morgan executive Blythe Masters spoke at the ASIC Annual Forum in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday, saying the country could become a leader in the distributed ledger industry, most notably with her current project with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
Australia Can Spearhead the Blockchain Revolution
Masters believes Australia will be a leader in the distributed ledger environment because of initial projects like implementing blockchain innovation with the ASX platform, AFR reports. To her and many investors, this emerging technology is a monumental concept. Masters explains:
[Distributed ledger technology] is probably one of the biggest ideas I have come across in 30 years.
Masters stated that the ASX platform has the possibility of becoming one of the “first successful [blockchain] projects in the world.” One of the most beneficial aspects of blockchain technology will be cost reduction according to Masters as billions are currently wasted in the equities and trade markets. With this protocol processors and exchanges can be more efficient and “eliminate reconciliation activity.”
“[The Blockchain] is arriving at a time of gigantic need for the industry,” asserted Masters. “Firms are under enormous pressure to radically rethink business models, and we are not talking about shaving 5, 10 or 15 percent off the cost base […] We are talking about shaving 50, 60, 70 percent out of cost bases.”
Australian Banks were also enthusiastic about the potential of savings and security blockchains. Commonwealth Bank of Australia group executive Annabel Spring spoke to the crowd as well about the transformative possibilities.
“When we look at the possibilities of blockchain and what we could do to transform both our operations on a cost and security basis […] there is a tremendous back office that surrounds reconciliation that we can make a cheaper in the long run, and that is a fantastic opportunity for us,” she said.
Spring echoed Masters stating that the technology can produce significant changes in financial processing and settlement times reducing errors overall. Besides a faster system, she noted that the protocol is more resilient to attacks, which are an “existential risk that nobody in this room should feel comfortable about.”
Preparing for the Future
Earlier this week the Australian government has been proposing solutions for regulation and taxation policy concerning financial technology. The government had stated in its report called “Australia’s FinTech Priorities” that it will work with the industry on “legislative options to reform the law relating to GST as it is applied to digital currencies.”
Meanwhile at the forum, Spring stated that common standards are a critical challenge for these technologies, but financial institutions and governments can overcome these difficulties. “I am very optimistic people will collaborate in open source on the development of those standards, so that all the financial institutions and governments in the world can use the same standards to talk to each other,” she explained during her panel presentation.
The broad landscape of Australia’s financial sector seems to be moving in the direction of working more closely with digital currencies and blockchain innovation. Both of the aforementioned executives might be proven right as the country’s banking sector and government authorities move towards research and development of distributed ledger technology.
Do you agree with Blythe Masters predictions about Australia and blockchain technology? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wiki Commons, Commonwealth Bank