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From “Blockchain Hype” to a Real Business Case for Financial Markets

There has been a huge amount of coverage in the press about the great potential uses of bitcoin-related technology for financial markets, such as improvements in efficiency. In addition to the supporters of blockchain, many have been critical of its real-life applications within the business world and suggest that what we are witnessing is nothing short of “blockchain hype,” and that this technology can only be applied to bitcoins.

This paper will demonstrate that there are real business cases for improving financial markets based on the lessons learned from cryptocurrencies, but, unlike what the hype-enthusiasts suggest, they are not application of a technology to the existing business models within financial markets. They are reforms of the business model itself. What needs to be exported from the world of cryptocurrencies are aspects of the market organization, inspiration for a different accounting and legal system, and some aspects of the technology. These can result in a huge contribution towards more robust, efficient, and stable markets. However, the process cannot be immediate and effortless, and can only be achieved within a market-wide FinTech/RegTech strategic perspective.

In this paper, I develop these concepts initially within a parallel analysis of cryptocurrencies and financial markets. Then, I will focus on a specific business case regarding the collateralization of financial derivatives, which will highlight quantifiable benefits in terms of reducing costs, capital, and risk. It is an example of a situation where the use of cryptocurrency technology is not more important than the business ideas developed in the analysis of cryptocurrencies; yet it was inconceivable prior to the advent of distributed ledgers, smart contracts, and oracles.