Reimagining Financial Services with Blockchain

(This article is also published in Computerworld Hong Kong on December 14, 2016)

ibm_blockchain_panel

Blockchain is finally getting the attention it deserves. From left to right: Sheila Lam (Computerworld Hong Kong), Larry Campbell (KPMG China), Bob Crozier (AIA Edge), and Ian Mitchell (IBM).

Often confused with bitcoin, a cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology, blockchain itself offers more promises than digital currency. It is also changing the fundamentals of finance.

Understanding the blockchain promise

Before blockchain, most technological advances improved or streamlined transactions and interactions. But they still follow traditional business rules and practices. For example, most companies keep their ledgers for protection against fraud and tampering.

Although well founded, it has traditionally made asset ownership and transfer inefficient. However, this solution worked in a world where trust was not a commodity.

Blockchain aims to change this; it makes trust a commodity leveraging cryptographic technology, transparency and business networks. It does this by encapsulating trust in a shared ledger that is transparent to every participant, and permanently recording all transactions in chronological order.

In a recent panel discussion organized by IBM, industry experts and observers noted that this makes blockchain a potential industry game changer.

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區塊鏈全球通行 賦予鑽石名份

(原文於2016年11月24日在香港經濟日報刊登)

diamond-best-friend

Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”

有云:鑽石是女人的摯友。然而,鑽石的「名份」卻是一個困擾。

鑽石沒有世界通行的身份證。竊賊在甲地偷了寶石,拿到乙地去賣,神不知鬼不覺。因此,盜竊問題一直令人頭痛。業界嘗試了不同方法,如為知名鑽石發身份證,但當數據庫被黑客入侵,如去年十月美國寶石學院便宣佈,他們鑑定的逾千顆鑽石記錄失效。

英國初創企業 Everledger 最近利用 IBM 針對區塊鏈開發的軟硬件技術,發展出一套分佈式鑽石身份記錄系統,為鑽石賦予全球性的「名份」。日後即使個別系統被攻陷,電子竊賊竄改鑽石記錄,其他系統都能察覺,防患未然,為鑽石以至未來其他奢侈品,例如名畫等,提供前所未有的安全保障。

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