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6th Annual Digital Financial Services and Fintech Conference: Blockchain & Digital Assets

  • Global
  • Financial services - Digital Financial Services



Matthew Allen moderated a panel discussion on blockchain and digital assets. This featured Eleonor de Savignac (BNP Paribas) and Lex Sokolin (ConsenSys), as well as Eversheds Sutherland’s Tony Anderson, Carola Rathke and Brian Barrett. The panellists discussed key trends, such as the apparently cumulative nature of payments infrastructure, the focus of new growth on digital platforms, the need for scalable modern payment mechanisms and increased demands for central bank digital currencies. It was suggested that Blockchain’s importance partly lies in its ability to enable digital scarcity and an emerging property rights system enforceable through software. The panellists also considered the impact of payments on market infrastructure, including the possibility that cash could remain as a “fallback” rather than disappear. Novel developments, such as asset referenced tokens (i.e. payment tokens backed by a basket of Fiat currencies and/or other cryptocurrencies) were noted, as were the importance of education and the risks of arbitrage and cyber threats.

The panellists went on to explore digital assets and regulatory frameworks. This included the EU’s proposed Regulation of Markets in Crypto-assets (“MiCA”) (which suggests that crypto-currencies will remain as “part of the system” in a more regulated form) and state and federal regulation in the US. Several US states require licenses for participants in cryptocurrency market activities, and it was argued that this licensing process can be onerous, with limited coordination between state and federal authorities. The practical steps that banks are taking to develop infrastructure to support these new markets were also covered by the panellists, including the exploration of custody services for digital assets and partnerships with technology experts to offer services. Other points of discussion included smart contracts and the ongoing opportunities to manufacture financial products provided by Blockchain.