Blockchain maturity has passed a significant milestone as Amazon Web Services puts its managed blockchain service into production this week. The addition of distributed ledgers to one of the largest infrastructure-as-a-service provider’s product portfolios will further hasten the commoditization of the technology.
Blockchain’s Cambrian Explosion should come to an end, Alex Blum, the CEO of Atomic Capital, told Markets Media.
“In 2017 groups were creating new blockchains for every little thing that you can imagine,” he said. “People see that there is no need for another invented blockchain.”
The financial services industry should set its focus on smart contracts, which sit atop of premium blockchains and enable new asset classes like digital securities.
“Someone has paved out these broad highways across the US, and now people are putting roads into stores, putting in signs, and putting headlights in cars in such a way that it is not just a bunch of asphalt,” noted Blum.
Atomic Capital has added its traffic light to the blockchain highway with its digital security issuance offering, which business partners are using to provide bitcoin- and ether-backed collateralized loans.
“We take securities and put them onto a blockchain,” said Blum. “At the end of the day, if people can raise funds that way, they do not care what kind of database whether if it is blockchain or an AWS server that handles it. They just want to raise money.”
Adoption of digital securities faces an uphill climb as a significant knowledge gap exists within the industry regarding the new asset class and its underpinnings, according to Sam Hill, COO of Atomic Capital.
“We spend a tremendous amount of time educating investors, securities issuers, borrowers, and lenders on the capabilities of digital securities and custody,” he said. “For example, you cannot have a custody conversation without explaining the fundamentals of blockchain. Understanding these new technologies enough to use them is no small task. However, that doesn’t mean you need to understand jet engines to fly.”
As the industry matures and the knowledge gap shrinks, Hill expects smart contracts eventually will become more robust and support more capabilities than recording security ownership, such as voting, notice, and dividend-payment functions.