Blockchain database technology, which underpins digital cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, has got finance industry executives very excited.
But they may have to cool their jets according to consultant Oliver Wyman and post-trade service provider Euroclear.
The companies jointly released a report on blockchain, declaring that “it is likely to take more than ten years to overhaul core parts of the system” in capital markets where stocks and bonds are traded.
Blockchain technology allows institutions to directly trade and transact with each other securely, without having to work through a middle-man or record keeper. It has the potential to hugely reduce costs and speed up activity.
Investment banks are going gaga for the technology, with 42 signing up for an industry-wide consortium looking at the technology and Goldman Sachs declaring that it has the potential to change “well, everything.”
The pair think that while “challenger disruptors” will start to develop workable blockchain solutions within the next two years, it will take collaboration between banks to truly change the system and that is a much slower process. On top of that, the systems that need overhauling are simply massive — it’s a big job.
Here’s a visualisation of how Oliver Wyman and Euroclear see adoption going:
You could make a case for saying that Euroclear has a vested interest in saying the blockchain will be a slow burner — the post-trade services it supplies are precisely the type of costs that blockchain could cut. But most in the banking industry that I’ve spoken to say five years is the most optimistic timeline for industry adoption.
The report also includes the below handy chart that sums up all the main potential use cases for blockchain technology within financial services:
And the report also includes this helpful table summing up the potential benefits of blockchain technology in capital markets at each stage of the trading and holding timeline: