Despite the name’s popularity, it seems that nothing about Blockchain technology has yet been truly defined. Many of us have heard of it and do have a small basic understanding of its purpose but there is still a substantial amount of unanswered questions. For those individuals who work within the finance sector, there seems to be a palpable intrigue around the potential of this new technology. However, on the other side of this, professionals are concerned and are subsequently hesitant to board the Blockchain train over fears that it poses more of a threat than a solution. With the general lack of knowledge on the subject, it seems only few have an insight into the future potential of this technology and how exactly it can be fully utilised.

Even with this widespread confusion, it’s a huge testament to the industry that even in these early stages that very few are ignoring Blockchain. Our own research has shown that 87% of CFO’s are looking into Blockchain however 36% have admitted that they do not understand enough about it to act just yet. For the larger financial institutions of today, Blockchain is often described as more of a challenge than a potential opportunity. This is purely buoyed by the fear that the arrival of this new technology will render banks obsolete in the facilitation of secure document transfers. Instead, they will be left looking for new revenue streams to offset this loss of income.

In spite of this, there is evidence that some of the larger banks are collaborating on Blockchain applications, this is because of how closely tied Blockchain is to various cryptocurrencies. However, on the whole, the development of Blockchain is very much a watch and wait to see what happens.  Just like the CFOs in our survey and these financial institutions, here at Onguard we are rolling out our own investigation, monitoring developments and watching to see how Blockchain can help businesses in the field of credit management.

Even though the whole issue currently seems too ephemeral and uncertain we are confident that Blockchain will be a very important development – one we have been following it in relation to Bitcoin, smart contracts and predictive analysis. We are also investigating the technology in terms of efficiency benefits, such as fewer errors and reduced administration costs. The potential for removing the transactional element of a deal in favour of a simple exchange across distributed general ledgers has great promise.

We also believe that Blockchain will be extremely interesting in the order-to-cash market. Yet we first need to ascertain whether it is secure. Do we understand the legislation and laws around it? These are crucial elements to tackle before we can recommend this solution to our list of global clients. We have a vibrant group of developers and architects looking into what is happening and feeding it back into the organisation to enhance our own knowledge.

The consensus is that there are still several known obstacles to overcome, and possibly more unknown issues, before the Blockchain vision becomes a reality. Service and solution providers will need to play their part in the future of this disruptive technology with special attention when developing expertise, taking the time to explain the technology in detail and in helping to reassure customers about issues around security or regulation.

After our investigations, we would advise to speak to the experts, those that have been observing and researching Blockchain before making any changes to your current infrastructure. Blockchain will happen and it will bring benefits, but those businesses that are properly prepared and willing to make changes will reap most of the rewards.

Marieke Saeij, Chief Technology Officer, Onguard