Financial authorities across Southeast Asia are embracing blockchain technology and digital currencies as a way of helping the poor get better access to banking services that can help lift them out of poverty, as well as speeding and improving interbank payments and cross-border settlements.
If there’s one theory at the heart of Igor Pejic’s new book, “Blockchain Babel: The Crypto Craze and the Challenge to Business,” it is that when it comes to using blockchain technology to remake the banking business, neither the financial institutions looking to maintain their dominance nor the FinTech firms trying to topple them understand each other, or how much they need each other.
The CEOs of Mastercard and Wells Fargo echoed skeptical comments on the utility of blockchain technology made earlier this week by Bank of America’s head of technology. Speaking to CNBC on March 28, Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan said that while ignoring blockchain would be a “bad idea,” the technology has been “way oversold.” Mastercard CEO Ajaypal Banga added that blockchain technology has “interesting possibilities,” but said that “the business model is not proven.”
Despite overseeing technology at the bank with more blockchain patents than any other, Bank of America’s Chief Operations and Technology Officer Cathy Bessant is “bearish” on the technology, she told CNBC on March 26.