Financial Professionals Believe in Billions of Blockchains

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The banking industry contemplates the future of blockchains. Photo: Shutterstock

A million blockchains isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion blockchains.

According to a new Bankers Association for Finance and Trade (BAFT) survey, only 3% of respondents believed that there would be one blockchain to rule them all—such as what ardent Bitcoiners might have you believe.

Instead, the majority of financial professionals took a more pragmatic approach.

They foresaw a future where thousands, millions or even billions of blockchains co-exist.

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Of those who responded, 73% had more than 15 years of industry experience, Coindesk reported.

If you recall, Microsoft’s Marley Gray shared the same vision, which he explained in a lengthy interview with Ripple Insights:

Because this is just the beginning. Right now we have Bitcoin, which is this public network. There will be people out there who will tell you that you need to be on the Bitcoin blockchain. We disagree. For a couple of reasons, we don’t really see it going anywhere. But Bitcoin served an important purpose. It proved that the technology can work. But it’s just one chain. We’re barely scratching the surface.

In financial services, I think we’re going to see a mixture of different blockchain technologies. There will be many, many chains—chains for swaps, chains for bonds. They’ll each have different characteristics. We’ll see chain patterns evolve. You could plug and play various consensus algorithms based on the products that exist on that chain.

It’s actually with this kind of worldview that Ripple approaches its enterprise solutions. The key here is interoperability, to ensure that we have standards and protocols such that all the ledgers (and blockchains) of the world can talk to each other.

That’s the dream. In this reality, everyone can keep their own ledger, if that’s their prerogative.

That’s why we are big supporters of the Interledger Protocol (ILP).

As Wired’s Cade Metz reported, ILP is “a movement to create a technology that would let all these online ledgers talk to one another, that would let you send money between these systems.” Or as Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas puts it, “We’re trying to create a global standard for payments.”

In the billions of blockhains future, ILP is the glue. At least that’s how Marley sees it.

Then you need ILP, which is the glue in the system that holds everything together, so that different chains can interoperate. That means a derivatives chain can interact with the securities chain it’s derived from. In all of these interactions, you’ll have to move money around. So you will need Ripple for that. We see Ripple and ILP becoming part of the fabric of this multi-chain reality.

Check out the Interledger W3C Community Group, which is over 130 strong already.