Interview with Anna Felländer: “The Blockchain technology is super interesting from an economic point of view”

Blockchain is applicable where transaction costs are high and where there is imperfect trust, where there is asymmetric information and in complex networks. The Blockchain technology is super interesting from an economic point of view. We have a new shift of trust, a shift going towards digitalized trust, trust among peers. It is so much larger than the sharing economy. It provides us with speed and security and it makes it easier to identify.

I agree with Mats Snäll at Swedish land registry, when saying we really need to put a value on anti-corruption. We need to measure how large cost-reductions, for example banks, can achieve with the Blockchain technology. It will create incentives for large companies and governments to start investing in testbeds, in collaboration with the digital start-up scene, enabling diverse competence.

Where will the blockchain technology have the most valuable impact?  

Both Nasdaq and Swedish land registry (Lantmäteriet) are superstars and can be used as great examples when it comes to companies and governments that have started investigating in using the blockchain technology.

In 2017, one million people in Estonia have their medical journal registered on a Blockchain. I believe the sector where Blockchain technology will be most valuable is in the government and public agency, where you find the critical mass.

Who inspires you, being in the forefront of innovation and technology?

What are the current challenges prohibiting blockchain from being rolled out at large scale?

The disruptors who are leading in the forefront, already have explored the potential to reach consumers through smartphones and smart demographic targeting across multiple social media platforms and they are now exploring new growth channels. This includes; connected TV (CTV), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and the opportunities with the fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology for digital cellular networks, all enabling total disruption of both the consumer- and employer brand experience.

Problems with scaling

One of the main issues today with blockchain is the problem with scaling. To give an example, Bitcoin could in July handle 3-5 transactions per minute, while Etherium could handle 15-25 transactions per minute, compared to Visa card that handled 2500 transactions per minute. There are therefore obviously limitations to speed, while faster Block creation will destablish validation and that is a limitation. Instead we are likely to have an off-chain scaling solution, so we need to be able to handle that.

GDPR (General Data Privacy Regulation)

The GDPR going into force the 24th May 2018 will of course create a problem, when for example a person wants to withdraw his or her data from the blockchain. The Financial sector has open validation. Open networks are so much harder to regulate with a lot of compliance issues. Balance Open Blockchain vs. a more closed Blockchain.Where you can apply Validation compliance? “How open or Close should a Blockchain be?”

Currently not being energy-efficient

The blockchain validation being made by miners is pure data capacity which of course is a limitation, since the process is currently not energy-efficient.

In need of a Blockchain standardisation 

On EU level we should start investigating if a Standardised Blockchain should be applied in every sector or if there is going to be one Blockchain for Financial industry, one for the Automobile industry?, and so on. Will there be a Blockchain standardisation for the Financial sector infrastructure, developed by Santander, Citibank or another actor such as Microsoft? There is definitely a lack of Standards when it comes to applying what Swedish Land Registry (Lantmäteriet) have done.

What will happen to the future of work? 

In all large companies and banks you will always have vertical silos being really frightened of laying of workers or risking to lose their own jobs. There are a lot of frightening situations that need to be handled.

I believe that jobs will be lost but there will be new jobs that will cost-complement and augment, for example, bank employers. Employees will engage in other tasks, such as human interaction. Technologies such as Artificial intelligence and Blockchain will create a lot of new jobs by just training others; both humans to complement the technology, and also where we need to train artificial intelligence to be more human like and how this technology can be applicable on value chains and personalised offers. And also, new jobs handling security and ethics when it comes to artificial intelligence, but that´s another interview.

How can organisations, governments and institutions evaluate the blockchain technology and its value?

We can definitely learn from Nasdaq and Swedish land registry (Lantmäteriet). What have they done so far?, when testing the blockchain technology. How have they done it?, and what strategic partners have been involved?

As a national bank you can´t work in a Silo, instead you have to really depend on how the global infrastructure will develop, therefore sitting down at the table with R3 is so crucial.

We should start with public agencies and governments, where testbeds can be run in a very secure and tailored way for public agencies and governments, therefore this is where we should start testing. This phase is literally just about setting up partnerships and to start testing, with a “fail-fast and cheap” culture.

Large companies also need to invest in testbeds, enabling them to learn how different tasks can be influenced and more efficient, by the use of this technology. There might be a cultural clash, but large companies, governments and public agencies really need to engage in tech start-ups using Blockchain technology. We are all in a networked society and innovation is about opening up new databases and transactions across borders and across industry borders.

– So, how do we go about doing that?” 

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