Blockchain: How to Combat Risks Associated with a New Era of Business Transactions
Blockchain is a commercial reality and companies must become comfortable with a radical new way of working, just as they had to when the World Wide Web came along. Already, blockchain is used for items such as smart contracts, financial services, global shipping and mobile payments – all with the primary aim of saving time and cutting costs. Digital assets (cryptocurrencies) are underpinned by blockchain.
Top Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz has launched a $300m venture fund, called ‘a16z crypto’, to invest in cryptocurrency companies and protocols. The fund will be co-led by industry heavyweight Kathryn Haun, who was formerly with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and led high-profile investigations into bitcoin-based marketplace Silk Road and bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox.
Blockchain as a service is now offered by Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP, supporting global corporations in using blockchain for their operations, to improve speed, cut costs and increase transaction security. Early adopters in financial services include Northern Trust and Santander. HSBC and JPMorgan are currently testing platforms and transactions.
A number of major companies have started to use and accept cryptocurrency in exchange for goods and services, including Expedia, Microsoft, PayPal, Reddit, Subway and Virgin Galactic.
This year’s annual meeting of G20 central bankers and finance ministers put regulation of cryptocurrencies at the top of the agenda. The group has since been working on a strategy to de-risk cryptocurrency markets and build regulations that will not compromise the innovative potential of blockchain.