Wall Street Goes Big on Bitcoin Tech
By Telis Demos for WSJ
The mainstreaming of blockchain tech continues.
Nearly 500 suit-clad Wall Streeters, regulators, professors, and tech execs gathered at the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.’s attended first ever single-issue public symposium, on blockchain, Tuesday in midtown Manhattan. Earlier Tuesday DTCC, the bank-owned utility for settling trades, also announced its first test of an application of blockchain, for repo trades. Matt Harris, of Bain Capital Ventures, said he had never seen such high-powered talent drawn to back end of bank technology in his 20 years in the space.
DTCC estimated that $500 million has been invested by VCs and banks in blockchain, which is touted to be a way to slash costs settling trades by creating one shared record protected by cryptography. Barclays PLC tech executive Lee Braine cautioned that a “perfect hype storm” had evolved.
Still, the potential for big cost savings versus current systems stirs Wall Street’s passions. IBM’s Jerry Cuomo said his firm was using blockchain to try to reduce the 40% of its $44 billion in financing provided to customers that is tied up in disputes.