What a Blockchain Economy Will Look Like




Wednesday September 15 2021, 14.00 - 15.00 UK time


It always takes time for revolutionary technologies to establish themselves. Blockchain is no exception. Although the pace of mass adoption is speeding up - the telephone took 70 years to achieve 50 per cent market penetration among consumers, while smartphones managed that in three - blockchain is more akin to a general-purpose technology such as electricity in its ability to transform a wide range of commercial activities. As such, it must solve engineering problems that constrain its growth, of which lack of speed and scalability is the most obvious.  But blockchain shares with all forms of digital technology the ability to scale exponentially once the engineering problems are solved. This webinar, hosted in partnership with Trade and Invest Wales and Fintech Wales, will assess how close blockchain technology is to taking off into exponential growth and how it could change the entire shape and structure of economies.

1. The term “blockchain” now describes a complex reality, with competing general-purpose technologies (Ethereum, Solana). What does the history of other general-purpose technologies (electricity, the internal combustion engine, the Internet) tell us about the pace of transformation of an economy by a technology?
2. The traditional financial services industry favours closed or permissioned blockchain networks to or open and non-permissioned networks. Are private, permissioned blockchains akin to the attempt by AOL to create a “walled garden” Internet in the 1990s?
3. Is it possible to solve the counterparty risk and privacy problems sufficiently well (in technical terms) for open, non-permissioned blockchains to become the norm throughout the economy?
4. Is digital Identity the key that can unlock public, open, non-permissioned blockchains to everybody by guaranteeing no counterparty is a bad actor without breaching privacy?
5. Have any of the “layer 2” solutions to the problem of speed and scalability in blockchain (e. g. Bitcoin lightning, Ethereum Plasma, sharding, switching from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake to Proof of Capacity, Solana) solutions solved the transaction speed and scaling (transactions per second, or TPS) constraint in blockchain?
6. Blockchain technology has benefited from a lot of developer interest since it first appeared in 2008. Which of the fundamental problems of blockchain technology – speed and scalability, privacy, security, inter-operability - has all that effort solved?
7. Are the technical imperfections and limitations of early stage blockchain technologies being ironed out by an evolutionary process in which competition between developers is “perfecting” blockchain technology?
8. Is decentralized blockchain technology always superior, in theory as opposed to practice, to centralized database computing in the Cloud?
9. Mass adoption of blockchain technology depends in large part on inter-operability: the ability to move assets across blockchains and between blockchains and traditional trading exchanges. Does the FINP2P protocol solve the problem?
10. Crypto-currencies are hampered by rising transaction costs (“gas fees”) caused by congestion (rising levels of transactional activity driven by DeFi activity, and a greater willingness to pay to have transactions processed earlier). Is this problem fundamental to the technology or peculiar to crypto-currency applications?
11. Crypto-currency has attracted criticism for excessive electricity consumption. What are the solutions?
12. Smart contracts have attracted criticism for (a) not being contracts and so not enforceable (b) having vulnerabilities in their code and (c) being open to manipulation, especially in stressed markets, because benchmarks are immature. What is their likely future?
13. It is well-established that trust boosts GDP, and blockchain theoretically solves the problem of trust more economically than centralized intermediaries, so in theory more business will be done because the costs of establishing trust through intermediaries will be eliminated. But blockchain in practice (rather than theory) has sullied that promise with various scams and defalcations and departures from the initial promises. Can technology “solve” problems rooted in human nature?
14. The blockchain is missing a simple interface infrastructure that enables anyone to use blockchain technology as easily as they use telephones and the Internet. How far away are solutions of that kind?
15. Idealists claimed a decade ago that the Internet was more powerful than politicians, particularly of the authoritarian variety, but were soon proved wrong. Blockchain relies at heart on economic incentives to encourage good behaviour and discourage bad behaviour, even in tackling complex social problems. Does that mean it can accomplish what the Internet could not, and transcend politics?
16. The eventual promise of blockchain technology is a distributed network of networks, in contrast to the centralized “platforms” (Facebook, Amazon, Uber) that have come to dominate the Internet economy. Is the basis of the digital economy about to shift from the bi-lateral connections of platform economics to the multi-lateral connections of open networks?


Moderated by Dominic Hobson Co-Founder at Future of Finance


Sponsored by Trade and Invest Wales, in Partnership with FinTech Wales.


Trade and Invest Wales

With an established Financial and Professional Services Sector and home to some of the biggest FinTech companies, including Starling Bank, Monzo, Currencycloud and home grown Admiral, Wales’ FinTech sector is flourishing. The Welsh Government’s Trade and Invest Team helps businesses looking to grow or establish new operations in Wales. Working with businesses to deliver a tailored package of support, including advice on financial incentives and support, skills, recruitment, supply chain, business networks and property and location.

Get in touch to find out more.


FinTech Wales

FinTech Wales is the independent membership association and champion of the FinTech and Financial Services industry in Wales. The association has established an Advisory Board of 20 people including representation from Welsh companies such as Confused.com, Admiral, The Principality and Capital Law. FinTech Wales acts as a global voice and advocate for FinTech, introducing the benefits to FinTech entrepreneurs and innovators of establishing a business in Wales, as well as nurturing and supporting those companies already in Wales.

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If you would like to participate in the audience please let us know below or contact Wendy Gallagher wendy.gallagher@futureoffinance.biz

If you would like to submit questions beforehand please email Dominic Hobson on dominic.hobson@futureoffinance.biz