Standard Chartered innovation chief talks up the blockchain

Standard Chartered innovation chief talks up the blockchain

Standard Chartered chief innovation officer Anju Patwardhan has become the latest senior banker to talk up the potential of blockchain technology as a way to cut costs and improve transparency for financial transactions.

Citi, UBS and Barclays have all recently confirmed that they are exploring the blockchain, while last week a BNP Paribas analyst speculated that the distributed ledger has the potential to completely upend post-trade infrastructure.

In a post on LinkedIn, Patwardhan has now added her voice, suggesting that the technology could contribute to the "security of banks and the integrity of the financial system".

Prices for trading, money transfers, remittances, credit cards and other products could potentially be "undercut drastically" while transactions are made more secure and traceable for customers, banks and regulators.

Banks are pumping huge amounts of money into systems designed to prevent money laundering, but the blockchain could help by recording each leg of a transaction, making its ultimate destination easier to trace.

Patwardhan also highlights the potential for the distributed ledger to disrupt the paper-intensive world of trade finance. She writes that "it is possible to use blockchain technology to digitise and authenticate the records. This can result in trade transactions that are secure with digital records of related data visible to various participants in the trade transaction."

She concludes: "No bank can afford to ignore what it [bitcoin and the blockchain] augurs for the ongoing avalanche of digital innovations to come."

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