ANZ’s portfolio lead Nigel Dobson has made a startling revelation at the Australian Blockchain Week, sharing that the Big 4 bank has big plans to enter the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector and that it has been conducting early trials on Hedera’s Hashgraph.
Hashgraph is a distributed ledger technology, similar to a blockchain, where asset and transaction history are stored and verified digitally on a decentralized software network. Data integrity is incentivised for network operators via a native token, HBAR on Hedera Hashgraph.
Long gone is 2017 when Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co, famously stated “Bitcoin ‘is a fraud’ and will blow up”. Ironically he would be proven half right in declaring it would blow up as JP Morgan not only heavily invested into the cryptocurrency ecosystem, but also released their own JPM coin in the 5 years since.
So what makes public blockchains like Bitcoin a threat to the likes of JP Morgan & Co? Public blockchains are accessible to everyone! Put simply, a blockchain is an immutable append-only ledger, meaning it is a permanent verified record of every transaction and every auditors dream. Every wallet address and transaction is completely transparent. The blockchain itself is built and maintained by specific software on decentralized peer nodes, meaning anyone is open to contribute to the network.
From this technological breakthrough, we are already seeing blockchain technology expand into industries which lean heavily on data insurance and integrity. Projects such as Chainlink and AAVE are revolutionizing the mortgage, auditing and data storage industries. Smart contract platforms like Ethereum, Hedera and Algorand are allowing programmers to deploy open-source transaction programs for everyday use.
The technological merits of blockchain are clear but they do present some issues to the banking industry. A private blockchain means only permissioned clients would have access, removing the transparency of the ecosystem. This is clearly necessary in an environment where both corporation and customers transaction history should be treated with a degree of privacy. This kind of solution also cuts red tape and regulations and greatly increase the auditability of banking industry.
What is certainly clear though is that cryptocurrency, through all its cycles up and down, is a clear and exciting new technology with unlimited potential, and the whole sector is sure to see unknown growth in the coming years.