Bankers, prepare to meet the Blockchain – now where Internet was in 1996

In a world full of disruptive technologies, it’s surprising that more attention is not paid to the biggest of them all – the blockchain. Centred on a ledger-type global offering, blockchain offers all of humanity a one-off, unique, un-hackable digital certificate. That will eventually eliminate the need for intermediaries in the payments chain.

Too much to swallow in one bite? Consider this. The internet killed off growth in a host of previously profitable sectors like newspapers, taxis, hotels and travel agents. Blockchain guru Jeff Schumacher of BCG Digital Ventures says the sector most at risk from the new tsunami is retail banks, closely followed by asset managers and stock exchanges.

Schumacher reckons development of blockchain is where the internet was in 1996. In those pioneering years, most paid little attention to the web, much less believed it would become an indispensable part of our future. Using this internet experience as a template, we should expect the financial services dominoes to start falling by 2020.

That’s very little time for transactional banks and money managers to adjust their business models. The future is coming at the speed of an express chain. Quite a challenge in an industry known for moving at a pace only slightly faster than a snail.