Recap of the Blockchain Fin and Tonic

Blockchain was the theme of our monthly Fin & Tonic meetups in April, where we hosted a session in New York City and in Brussels.  

Blockchain technology, or more in general distributed ledger technology, is a much-discussed catalyst to improved and new business processes and business models, and is likely to have a significant impact on how we redesign future production, trading and handling of goods and services. Our understanding of the possibilities and limitations of this technology in many industries is today, however, at an early stage, and we at B-Hive are excited about exploring and learning with you more about this.

Our Fin & Tonic meetups are not just for the Fin(ancial) industry, but also reaches out to our partners, members and other interested organisations to ‘connecting the dots’ in other sectors, and our Brussels Fin & Tonic underlined that from the start.  Proximus, our telco partner, kindly hosted the event at their Brussels tower and Jan Manssens, Director Enterprise Strategy, Growth & Innovation gave us a warm welcome. 

Dave Remue, the Blockchain Lead at B-Hive started by addressing the state of blockchain in 2018. Here are some of the key takeaways:

-       The industry total of capital raised via token sales has surpassed $14.2 billion, with 1Q18 starting strong (already equal to 40% of the total amount raised in 2017).

-       The rollout of enterprise blockchains is still in early stages, with recent research across sectors highlighting that only 8% of projects started have survived or are in the waiting room.  According to Gartner, only 1% of the CIOs they surveyed, indicate any kind of blockchain adoption.

-       As also confirmed at the latest the World Economic Forum, we are still very much in a learning phase with many business leaders remaining with significant questions out blockchain. Get the presentation of Dave Remue.

We then had the pleasure of Chiara Mazonne, Innovation Policy Officer, Startups and Innovation Unit at DG Connect - European Commission, giving us more information about the launch of the European Blockchain Observatory. Launched in February 2018, the Blockchain Observatory and Forum is an expertise hub that highlights and disseminates information on key developments within blockchain technology.  It promotes European actors and reinforces the European engagement with multiple stakeholders involved in blockchain activities. She also pointed out other noteworthy initiatives from the European Comission such as the feasibility study for an EU Blockchain Infrastructure and the European Blockchain Partnership which which kicked off on 10 April 2018 with its declaration signed by 22 European countries. Get the presentation of Chiara Mazonne.

Astyanax Kanakakis, CEO & co-founder of Norbloc explained how last summer initial discussions started with B-Hive about launching a KYC platform with Belgian financial institutions.  Today, the four major banks and Isabel are performing exclusive extensive pilot testing of the Norbloc platform, Fides, with move to production scheduled for later this year. Get the presentation of Norbloc.

The final part of the evening showed two interesting use cases:   

Frank Roessig, Head Digital Solutions for Finance at Telindus did a live demo of their blockchain solution called SmartMatch which allows multiple users to perform previous tedious reconciliations of transactions much faster in a collaborative and auditable manner.

Then, the co-founder of Blockchain Studio, Corentin Denoeud (CEO) and Romain Menetrier (CTO) of Blockchain Studio explained how their innovative solution enables any staff member to modelise a business process and hereby automatically generating the corresponding smart contract on the blockchain, without being limited by any technical skills requirement.

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The evening was closed with a panel discussion moderated by Dave Remue with all presenters of the evening who were joined with Renée Spierings, Senior advisor at the FSMA.

The discussion highlighted that in the case of token sales, firms should give careful consideration as to whether their activities constitute regulated activities and investors in such startups should be alerted to the high risks.  Regarding the rollout of blockchain or distributed ledger technology in general, the panel was optimistic and called the audience to go out, explore, experiment, test and learn more about this exciting technology.  Business and technical perspectives should be combined and collaborate across organisations.

Watch all the talks of our speakers: