Ilenna Copely, senior commercial lawyer, concludes her Cinderblock fable about the impact of mythical proportions that blockchain technology will have on society.

Chapter 6:  Cryptocurrency

Dear reader, you may be wondering at Cinderella’s views on, and involvement in, cryptocurrency and other fintech applications of Blockchain.  This tale is already longer than an ordinary bedtime tale, so you will simply have to wait patiently for the next chapter, which will be told shortly.

However, there is one final event of which I know you desire to hear, so if you settle and be still for a few more moments, I will recount it to you.

Chapter 7:  Humanitarian

Despite all her business success, in her heart and as her true self, Cinderella wished most of all to use her commercial acumen to protect and empower others, particularly those in need and extreme poverty.

At a personal level, she saw the immense benefits Blockchain could provide for the many unbanked and underbanked people in developing communities, particularly women and girls.  She understood the importance of financial inclusion, yet the absence of an official identity precluded their participation in so many systems for which the establishment of identify was the first and fundamental step.

While one may reasonably expect Cinderella to be a whiz at planning a ball, and there certainly had been legendary celebrations within the palace over the years, over a simple and elegant meal in the Reflective Garden, Cinderella wished to honour the outstanding and innovative work of so many start-up and established organisations focused on Blockchain solutions.  

In drawing together the sharpest minds in Blockchain, the theme would be to identify how Blockchain could most effectively be used to alleviate global poverty and empower the weak and vulnerable.  

She also intended to put to the collective knowledge how Blockchain could be best utilised in emergency and post-natural disaster situations, particularly to organise the efficient distribution of resources.  Cinderella relished the opportunity to establish strategic collaborations between powerful organisations and people, so with an alignment of interests they could benefit many.

The long banquet table would be flanked by high hedges to remind of the importance of respecting the need for commercial confidentiality to promote open conversation amongst the guests.  The thousands of fairy lights in the hedges and the crystal clear pond at one end of the table would be a constant reminder of the inability of millions to access clean drinking water while so many in the world enjoyed lavish opportunities.

Knowing she could call upon her Fairy Godmother to have the palace ready in time, provided Cinderella gave her sufficient notice to schedule the preparations between her apprenticeship training businesses, horse-racing interests and online share-trading in international markets, Cinderella prepared the invitation list.

First at the table was CoinDesk, a veritable fountain of knowledge when it comes to Blockchain news, current events, information and guidance www.coindesk.com  

With Ethereum’s focus on smart contracts and as a platform to enable developers to create markets, store information, transact and transfer funds, Cinderella eagerly anticipated the prospect of learning in depth the potential of its applications from its CEO, who had seen it emerge into such a strong market leader is a relatively short period of time.  She was particularly intrigued by Ethereum Wallet, given the number of cryptocurrencies swirling in the space. www.ethereum.org

Focusing on the importance of creating identities for the purpose of providing access to financial and other services for the many unbanked and underbanked, Cinderella delighted at the thought of speaking with the senior representatives of Qadre, who were so dedicated to developing Blockchain solutions to create and manage identity and trust.   www.qad.re

She would invite slavefreetrade’s cofounders, Steve Iselin and Helen Burrows, to speak about the use of Blockchain to tackle slavery in supply chains, through the traceability features. Together with the ever impressive Dr Jane Thomason, CEO of Abt Associates Australia and Britain and member of the Advisory Board of the British Blockchain Association, Cinderella could only count her blessings at the opportunity to also invite the three to speak about their December 2017 announcement of the establishment of the Blockchain Academy for Girls. The purpose of the Academy would be to provide training and guidance for girls in Blockchain, to enhance their career and other opportunities.

While Cinderella is known far and wide for her kindness, benevolence, generous nature and patience in most situations, with the immutable truth and transparency of Blockchain, it should be recorded the speed of Cinderella’s temper outperformed the speed of fibre optic cable when it came to the frustration of the time delays associated with sending and receiving money internationally.  The thrill she felt reading of the pioneering work of Ripple, that connects banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and businesses globally to provide a “frictionless experience” to send and receive money globally, distracted her to think of several even more powerful words to describe its incredible effect on her … global enterprises. www.ripple.com

She was then simply left breathless to discover Circle used Blockchain and Ethereum to allow customers to transfer fiat currencies of US dollars, British pounds sterling and Euros on their mobile phones, extraordinarily, without any fees or foreign exchange mark-ups.  www.circle.com  Cinderella immediately downloaded the Circle app, yet noted it was not quite yet available in Australia.

Cinderella knew she would find a kindred spirit in the CEO of BitPesa, who was leading the company to achieve such impressive month on month growth.  So cleverly, BitPesa enables businesses to swiftly and inexpensively make payments to and from Africa and within Africa, across borders as never before.  Blockchain is the crucial vehicle through which the transactions are facilitated as a currency is converted to Bitcoin, moved across a border and converted into the currency of the destination country.  The use of Bitcoin on the Blockchain enables transactions to occur within the hour, whereas ordinarily businesses and people are forced to endure the time delay, inherent costs and frustrations associated with traditional financial processes.  Those processes may be based on distrust of certain countries and their financial systems and often required letters of credit from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation or other institutions, which could take weeks to arrange. www.bitpesa.com

Of course, Bitnation would be asked to give a short presentation, on its Bitnation Refugee Emergency Response (BRER).  Using Blockchain, BRER provides victims of the refugee crisis in Europe and the United Kingdom with an emergency digital identification and bitcoin-based credit card, through which they may receive funds from family and friends, without the traditional use of bank accounts.  Cinderella admired that, beyond the support for individuals and families, one of the objectives of the BRER was to alleviate the financial burden on nations who received the refugees www.refugees.bitnation.co

While recognising the need for administration costs and salaries of not-for-profit organisations to be covered to enable the work of the organisations to be undertaken, Cinderella was acutely sensitive to the costs of middle operators depleting the funds that could otherwise be available to support people in need.  She thought the work of BankyMoon’s Usizo Project to be remarkable. Bankymoon electricity meters are installed adjacent to schools in need in Africa. Through Blockchain technology, donors from around the world can donate directly to the meter in the cryptocurrency of their choice, to pay for electricity for the schools in areas where prepayment of power is required. www.bankymoon.co.za

Like many members of royalty, Cinderella had spent time in Australia, so while planning her seating arrangement she was delighted to read that on 7 December 2017, the Australian Stock Exchange had decided to upgrade its Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS) system.  Though ordinarily that may generate as much excitement as one may muster for a full garage cleanout, the decision heralded a new age and seismic shift in the Australian financial landscape. The ASX had chosen to engage Digital Asset, to implement a Blockchain solution as a replacement.  Those in the know would appreciate Digital Asset was founded in 2014 by the legendary Blythe Masters, who remains the CEO. Blythe is a former JP Morgan Chase CFO and recognised as the creator of the credit default swap as a financial instrument. www.digitalasset.com Cinderella immediately diarised March 2018 to keep a sharper eye out for the ASX’s presentation of the full scope of the project.

There were so many representatives of cryptocurrency companies, it simply would have been unthinkingly impolite to cause the table conversation to be dominated by the topic. Cinderella thought it best to limit the number of guests to only a few.

Naturally, Bitcoin would be warmly welcomed as an old friend, whose continuing rising value was the talk of people, from Presidents to shoe-shiners.  The detailed knowledge by the latter caused some naysayers to forecast precarious days ahead. www.bitcoin.com

As a chat messenger service, no doubt Kik would bring considerable conversation to the table.  Cinderella was particularly interested to speak with its CEO about Kik’s ICO of its token, Kin, which, in large part, is intended as a means of rewarding developers contributing to Kik and thereby, Kik’s sustainability against the behemoths in social media. www.kik.com

Something about the vision of Lykke to create a marketplace with immediate delivery and settlement, intrigued Cinderella so she added them to the invitation list. www.lykke.com  It was said Lykke would start with a foreign exchange and expand to equities, fixed income, commodities and other asset classes.  It was their work around commodities that particularly piqued her interested and she looked forward to learning more.

Of course senior representatives of each of the companies mentioned earlier in our tale would be at the table, for it was in them Cinderella saw immense potential to work collaboratively to build solutions for developing communities.

Several representatives of Estonia would also attend, particularly to discuss the country’s digital identification, health, education and other systems, as we have described previously.  Cinderella thought it may be best to sit senior representatives of Sony and IBM nearby, given their announcement in August 2017 of their joint initiative to develop a Blockchain solution to store and share educational records.

So …

While the story of Cinderella may be fantasy, the advent of Blockchain solutions is not.  

It is foolhardy and ill-advised to believe Blockchain implementation is many years away or will simply dissolve into the ether like the Fairy Godmother’s magic at midnight.

Blockchain is already here.  Blockchain will disrupt many industries.  

Dear reader, there is every likelihood  Blockchain will disrupt your industry and your job.  It will also bring immense benefits to society, corporations, businesses, not-for-profit organisations, individuals and you.

Prior to the traditional “And they lived happily ever after” or, more appropriately for us, “To be continued” conclusion of this chapter of the tale, we might sensibly heed the words of the Blockchain and financial industry leader, Blythe Masters,

“You should be taking this technology as seriously as you should have been taking the development of the Internet in the early 1990s.”

 

And they all lived Happily Ever After.