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PCBB Banc Investment Daily April 21, 2016
Banc Investment Daily
April 21, 2016

Ice Blocks And Block Chains

Believe it or not, many people are willing to pay to spend just a few minutes in a personal freezer chamber designed to fool their bodies into thinking they may be freezing to death. Known as cryotherapy, the practice uses nitrous gas to cool an individual's body temperature so quickly and significantly that their brain automatically sends the majority of their blood to their core in an effort to keep major organs from shutting down. When the procedure is done, blood rushes throughout the body as it attempts to return to its core temperature. This is said to essentially re-boot the immune system by pushing out any toxins and boosting metabolism. We aren't doctors, so can't opine here, but the practice is even said to help with everything from weight loss, to improving sleep, reducing stress and even fostering quicker muscle recovery. Though there is no scientific proof that cryotherapy has any real tangible effects, the practice has been embraced by everyone from actors and actresses, to professional athletes.
While some are willing to experiment with such non-traditional and unverified practices such as cryotherapy, the banking industry too has begun experimenting with blockchain technology.
In an effort to protect and simplify customer transaction flows, banks are tinkering with blockchain technology. If things work as billed, it may provide a better way to secure transactions from cross-border payments, to interbank payments, loans and even the sale of securities. That is also why a consortium created last year has grown to include 40 of the world's largest banks.
Since blockchain technology uses a distributed ledger technology that mass produces records of any transactions completed among countless individuals and institutions, it adds security as well. Anonymity of the parties involved in transactions is retained throughout and its structure has left hackers so far without a way to outsmart the system. Because of this, banks are proactively exploring the underlying blockchain technology to not only reduce the amount of time needed to execute transactions at the heart of day to day businesses but to enhance security.
We aren't blockchain technology experts for sure, but such cooperative and widespread testing among so many banks is a testament to the opportunity blockchain may give the financial industry and banks in particular.
Banks aren't the only ones getting into the game here either. Nasdaq recently began its own testing of the blockchain technology as a security measure. It relied on the technology to allow residents of Estonia to electronically vote in shareholder meetings that they have traditionally been required to physically attend in order to vote. It reportedly was a success.
Since the introduction of such technology just 6Ys ago and despite some widely reported criminal activity with some of the early players, blockchain technology is finding more mainline interest. If it works as billed, it could evolve into a system that can accommodate automated execution of pre-existing agreements once the terms of those agreements have been met, safely, securely and inexpensively.
Despite the testing, widespread adoption of this technology among banks is still a way off, but not nearly as far away as people might have previously believed. Many industry experts now say widespread blockchain technology based security measures are no more than 1Y to 2Ys away perhaps. Until then, have no fear because community banks will most definitely not be left out of the cryochamber. Given the amount of money involved in the testing, this is one case where community banks could ultimately reap the benefits of the work and money contributed by their larger counterparts.