Deutsche Bank paper hails 'huge' blockchain potential

Deutsche Bank paper hails 'huge' blockchain potential

There are huge opportunities associated with blockchain technologies, which could change the financial sector in a sustained way, according to a Deutsche Bank report which is less sold on the potential of cryptocurrencies.

With financial institutions around the world already moving beyond the proof-of-concept phase to full blockchain implementations, Deutsche Bank is positive about what it calls "one of the most innovative developments in recent years".

The bank says that blockchain's disruptive potential gives it the ability to radically change the business models of financial services firms, particularly in the areas of stock markets and trading.

Citing a PwC study, the report notes that 63% of managers from German banks expect a change in their business model in the next 10 years because of blockchain technologies, with 29% expecting associated financial advantages.

Deutsche Bank says that it expects to see the first full DLT implementations at banks between 2020 and 2022, and suggests that by 2027 around 10% of worldwide GDP could be regulated by the blockchain.

When it comes to cryptocurrencies, the bank is more circumspect, warning that they currently represent a "highly speculative" and unregulated risk investment. The likes of Bitcoin could develop into a new asset class, but only if more regulation and security comes into force.

The main factors affecting the future development of cryptocurrencies are likely to be government intervention and competition between different options, says the paper, which also raises the possibility of central banks developing their own rivals, squeezing out private options.

More positively, Deutsche Bank argues that cryptocurrencies could in fact represent a form of protection against inflation in crisis countries, citing Venezuela, which had an inflation rate of 250% in 2016 and recently floated the creation of the "petro-currency" to circumvent a US blockade.

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