Today, the hype around the use cases of blockchain is everywhere promising the next digital transformation. With the bold promises of revolutionizing every other industry, the financial industry is no exception. Now, the million-dollar question is; Does the technology really has what it takes to shift the financial industry to the new heights or is the blockchain just another fancy buzzword? In order to answer the question, I researched how blockchain technology is being used in financial areas.I found that the industry is constantly evolving to acquire new customers, their needs and the ever-growing competitors, becoming more digital and upgrading according to the regulatory landscape. At the same time, many financial services are facing significant inefficiencies as it moves towards digitization. To comply with these situations, few investors have started to experiment and embrace the new technological infrastructures, but, even so, there are still many challenges that need to be overcome. This requires new ideas and technology to be implemented for accomplishing tasks at a greater scale. Financial Services Industries around the world are often challenged to absorb and implement external innovations. The emergence of innovative financial technologies has challenged traditional players by demonstrating new ways to deliver services that would add value to its development chain.
Blockchain, or the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), is such transformative and possibly game-changing technology.DLT and Blockchain technology could provide a lot of benefits and transform the way financial services are currently functioning. We could bring great efficiencies on operations like making payments, maintaining records under specific conditions, customer identification with the promise of confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity. The speed and traceability of business processes can really be improved through Blockchain. Assets can be transferred across the globe to any person in seconds. It can add another level of transparency to the financial dealing and can also enable selectively disclose information only with a regulator or concerned parties in a multi-party environment. Apart from enhancing securities and efficiencies, Blockchain technology could bring an entirely new business model and revenue streams to the market.As we see, Blockchain is going to have a huge impact on various sectors of financial services making business transactions efficient, safer and less costly. So, DLT is now in the minds and budgets of almost all influential players in the financial sectors.
Companies around the globe are setting up innovation labs, partnering with startups to experiment with blockchain with various use cases.While traversing through the web we can see an extensive list of alleged use-cases of blockchain around the world in financial services. Most of the companies are exploring various use-cases to determine how they can use technology to achieve new business models with revenue. In Banking Sector, Blockchain could be used to create a secure digital wallet for customers, develop smart escrow accounts, secure mortgage loans and many more. Companies like Coinbase, Ripple, and Xapo have been creating a blockchain-based financial system for the world to exchange digital assets like cryptocurrencies which could bring secure cross-border payments with Decentralized identity management and Authentication. With the motive of developing a decentralized identity, projects like uPort and Bloom have come to the market to build a trusted ecosystem to share data in a simple, secure and privacy-preserving way.
With Blockchain, the Trade Finance industry where existing business processes are complex, slow and involve many parties across the world could be optimized. Parties involved in trade finance cannot trust each other. Hence they need trusted third parties such as banks and clearinghouses to mediate. Therefore executing smart contracts on the distributed ledger to transfer ownership to goods and money could significantly automate the process and reduce the cost by cutting out the middleman and their fees. There have been many efforts by startups like skuchain, AgriClear and many more implementing blockchain in trade finance such as Supply chain management, letter of credit settlement and so on.To comply with the use cases mentioned above, one of the hot topic in the blockchain finance industry is decentralized finance(#DeFi), which basically grabs most of the concepts that I have mentioned above. Take it as an open financial ecosystem with conventional financial tools built on the blockchain that runs without intermediaries offering users control of their own assets. In other words, DeFi is any financial services built on top of public blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Today, t0here are many DeFi applications like stable coins, decentralized exchanges and wallets to payments networks, lending and insurance platforms and many more. Hence we can conclude that the decentralized finance ecosystem is flourishing.