Bankers Weigh Blockchain Challenges at BNY Mellon Event
BNY Mellon hosted a blockchain event at its Jersey City, New Jersey, campus on 28th January, an event that, while small in terms of the number of attendees, could have a potentially huge impact on how the bank does business in the months and years ahead.
Like many other financial institutions in the world, BNY Mellon is weighing how to apply the code that underlies bitcoin to new use cases. Last year, the bank revealed that it had used its own digital currency for an internal rewards pilot.
During remarks before the presentation, BNY Mellon chief information officer Suresh Kumar argued that rather than being replaced by the technology, blockchains can help institutions like BNY Mellon pursue new lines of doing business.
Kumar went on to say that there is a possibility the tech can "remove friction in the financial industry" through the use of the technology, and encouraged attendees to weigh possible solutions during breakout sessions that followed the event.
During his opening talk, Tim Swanson, director of research for New York-based blockchain startup R3CEV, provided an overview of the R3 blockchain consortium, which boasts 42 banking institutions from Asia, Europe and North America, including BNY Mellon, as members.
Swanson outlined how the firm is pushing ahead on development of what he called a "financial-grade ledger", as well as the creation of collaborative working spaces for financial institutions to test blockchain products and possible use cases.
As to what those use cases might be, Swanson was less clear. He told attendees that, based on the conversations he's had with financial institutions, most appear to be looking in different directions in terms of how to actually apply the technology.
"No one agrees on use cases," he said. "Everyone has their own wheelhouse."
Swanson went on to say that, across the landscape of financial institutions in the world, more than 500 employees have been dedicated to blockchain projects.
He argued that this number will grow as those firms move toward developing new proofs-of-concepts as ideas around use cases take further shape.