The Singularity University and CNBC are hosting the Exponential Finance 2015 conference n New York, on June 2-3. The conference examines how rapidly accelerating technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, crowdfunding, digital currencies and robotics are rapidly disrupting businesses throughout the financial industry.
The Singularity University, based at Moffett Federal Airfield in California and sponsored by high-profile high-tech firms including Google, is an educational center dedicated to world-changing applications of disruptive, exponentially accelerating technologies.
The conference program features an impressive set of high-profile speakers including Blythe Masters, the former J.P. Morgan star who now leads Digital Asset Holdings, a technology company that uses distributed digital ledgers tao address operational challenges and settlement latency in both digital and mainstream financial assets. Masters’ presentation, titled “Blockchain: The Financial Challenge of Our Time,” has been featured in a CNBC article titled “Why financial firms are investigating bitcoin tech.”
Masters discussed why major financial institutions and their regulators should explore the potential for technologies like the blockchain. She also examined how distributed ledger technologies can help make financial transactions more transparent, efficient and secure with thoughtful protection and collaboration by the industry. A video clip of Masters’ presentation is available online.
According to Masters, the technological innovation behind Bitcoin has the potential to empower the existing financial world, not just disrupt banks out of existence as some have foretold.
“There is a school of libertarian ‘visionaries’ who want to imagine a world without big banks, big governments,” she said in a recent interview. “That’s nice, but completely irrelevant to [Digital Asset Holdings’] business model. We don’t imagine a world in which big banks and big governments don’t exist.”
Masters said at Exponential Finance 2015 that Bitcoin's underlying technology has the opportunity to improve settlement latency and system security for firms, and, therefore, the market for financial blockchain applications will ultimately be measured in the trillions.
She added that major financial firms have all begun to dedicate a significant amount of time and effort to learning about the technology. Masters’ company Digital Assets Holdings “bridges the gap between the blockchain development world and financial services,” Masters said.
“If you can find a way to bridge the two of them then you have something that is truly revolutionary,” she said in a previous interview.
The Singularity University’s news site Singularity Hubreports that Masters cautions against the hype. The world, she says, is a long way away from economies tabulated on blockchain-enabled disributed ledgers. We need to determine whether they can withstand a concerted attack, can handle transactions on a truly global scale, and can maintain privacy. At the same time, Masters believes that the blockchain may prove incredibly empowering for existing organizations that embrace it. “How seriously should you take this?” she asked. “About as seriously as you should have taken the concept of the Internet in the early 1990s. It’s a big deal.”
The CNBC article lists many other recent examples of how high-profile banks and financial institutions are exploring the financial applications of the blockchain. The list includes Banco Santander, Barclays, UBS, BNY Mellon, IBM, Intel, Overstock, Nasdaq, and the U.S. Federal Reserve, all of which have been featured in recent Bitcoin Magazine articles to show how the technology of the blockchain is gradually winning support in both Wall Street and Capitol Hill.
In the past six months, "everybody realized that bitcoin's more than a currency," said Brian Kelly of Brian Kelly Capital. "Everybody had their 'aha' moment, and investors with many millions of dollars to spend are starting to see how it can be used." He added that the financial community was slow to come around to this technology, but they are beginning to embrace it as a cost-saving tool.
Photo courtesy of Exponential Finance