Highlights from Consensus 2016

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Panelists from Santander, Align Commerce, Deloitte, Ripple, and Bitpesa discuss payments at Consensus2016.

The biggest news out of Consensus 2016: Making Blockchain Real has been the possible identification of Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin in 2008. Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright has stepped forward to claim credit, but many are skeptical of the veracity of his declaration. With critical evidence reportedly not forthcoming, the cryptocurrency community is still waiting for this mystery to resolve.

That spectacle aside, 2016 is turning out to be a watershed year for blockchain technology. Despite a lingering argument over whether Bitcoin is more or less important than its underlying tech, Consensus 2016 saw keynote addresses and panel discussions on applications for blockchain or distributed ledger technology in cross-border payments, smart contracts, government, security, identity, the Internet of Things, and all different kinds of clearing and settlement.

Here are some key highlights from the speakers at Consensus:  

On the Delaware Blockchain Initiative

  • “Distributed ledger shares hold the promise of immediate clearance, immediate settlement and bring with them dramatic increases in efficiency and speed in the sophisticated commercial transactions for which Delaware is known.” —John Markell, Governor of Delaware
  • “By itself, [Bitcoin] is a great self-contained experiment. But when you try to work with existing rails and gateways and in people’s lives, my opinion of bitcoin gets a little small. It’s better to go with something like Ripple because with bitcoin, you have different people and different levels of legality.” —Julio Faura, Head of Innovation at Santander

On Building a Better Payment Rail

  • “Interoperability is the biggest question: allow the customer to use what works for them.” —Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO of BitPesa
  • “Regulators should think of the attributes of new technology and not apply old law to new technology.” —Marwan Forzley, CEO of Align Commerce
  • “The industry has tried to replicate the early Internet and focus on tech. But the Internet of Value is a different animal. It needs technology, compliance, and financial experts.” —Chris Larsen, CEO of Ripple
  • “Interoperability is crucial. If all we do is create a bunch of private chains, I’m not sure how successful we’ve been.” Julio Faura, Head of Innovation at Santander

On Clearing and Settlement for Global Financial Institutions

  • “Two [POCs] we’re working on are directly focused on reducing settlement times, freeing capital.” —Emmanuel Aidoo, Director of Investment Banking Technology at Credit Suisse
  • “Never in the last decade in banking has there been an opportunity for new entrants to come in, although regulation is very strict and onerous. Never have I seen a better opportunity for new players to come into the market and take pieces of lots of pies in banking, trading and financial services. I think the scenario we are going to see is the incumbents who manage to adapt the quickest will get bigger. The ones who don’t will end up like Blockbuster or Barnes & Noble. We’re going to get new entrants that we don’t even have today. Who will become the Amazon of banking or financial services?” —Sandra Ro, Group Digitization lead at CME Group

Ripple is a proud sponsor of Consensus 2016. For more quotes and details from the summit, follow Ripple on Twitter.