Why Blockchain ‘Hype’ Needs to Stop
Hype—tons if it—has long infiltrated the blockchain and cryptocurrency space, and IBM blockchain general manager Marie Wieck, for one, would like it to end.
“Stop the hype” with blockchain, she said at Fortune‘s Brainstorm Finance conference in Montauk, N.Y. on Thursday. Instead, she said, focus on the value proposition it brings to the table.
“The most important point is what value will every participant get out of permissioned blockchains, and candidly, I will love the day when nobody talks about blockchain and they just talk about the value creation,” Wieck said.
All the applications
Blockchain, a linked, decentralized network, or leger of information, has nearly endless capabilities.
As manager of IBM’s blockchain projects, Wieck sees many applications for the network, and believes blockchain is a “fundamental way to build trust and transparency in all types of industries.” So far, IBM is working in a variety of industries to reduce friction and increase privacy and efficiency—including business to business or B2B, teaming up with the likes Visa to improve direct exchange between companies. And with the creation of World Wire, a financial rail, IBM is connecting 50 different currencies around the world, including stable coins, for consumers.
J.P. Morgan, meanwhile, has similar initiatives underway.
Christine Moy, the executive director and blockchain program lead at J.P. Morgan Chase, says the financial institution is already working to partner with commercial and central banks alike to focus on the “tokenization of central-bank risk-level money,” she said at Brainstorm Finance on Thursday.
J.P. Morgan’s work in Singapore to create what Moy says is “cross-blockchain, cross-border, cross-currency exchange asset transfer” speaks to the network’s global reach.
No one winner
While J.P. Morgan uses Quorum, an enterprise version of Ethereum, and IBM uses Hyperledger Fabric, both leaders agree that no single network will come out on top.
“One network will not rule them all,” Wieck said.
She believes networks will need to be “fit-for-purpose,” but being open and data-controlled are keys to accelerating the exchange of value.
J.P. Morgan‘s Moy agrees, noting that the future will be a “multiple-blockchain protocol world.” This “mesh network” is akin to different brands of the same product, she said.
“The way that I think about it is, in today’s world, you have Apple computers and you have PCs, but the main point is that you can still send an email from someone who has a PC to someone who has an Apple—and that’s what’s useful,” she said.
More must-read stories from Fortune Brainstorm Finance:
—Brainstorm Finance 2019: Watch the livestream of the inaugural conference
—Andreessen Horowitz: How Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency will be governed
—Welcome to the next generation of corporate phishing scams
—Western Union and Zelle dish on the competition and talk mobile payments
—Millennials are not basement-dwelling potheads, says Wealthfront CEO
Sign up for The Ledger, a weekly newsletter on the intersection of technology and finance.