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But you recognize that most of it is coming from people with a vested interest in seeing blockchain technology become the big thing that they think it will be — Blythe Masters, for one. So you have to expect her to talk up the blockchain as she has , touting its potential to change the way the financial world operates and emphasizing how it can reduce risk, improve efficiency and ultimately provide better customer service.
Among traditional bankers, some might agree there's great potential in technology that facilitates an immutable record of transactional data. Yet many remain skeptical about anything associated with bitcoin.
Eyes glaze over at the details of how it works. Applications for the average bank seem to be distant still. If this is how you think about the blockchain — that is, when you think about it at all — expect to be paying far closer attention soon. Leimer is quick to say he's not a bitcoin, blockchain or distributed ledger technology expert.
But he considers the blockchain "big news" that banks of all sizes should care about. A recent post on Simon Taylor's Innovation Blog — talking about the stages of blockchain understanding — is one Leimer relates to personally. Leimer says Taylor is right when he says people go from being dismissive of bitcoin as a currency, to curious about the underlying technology, to incredibly excited about the use cases.
When he started in his current role just over a year ago, he asked what Santander was considering doing with the blockchain. The answer was not all that much, "because it's connected to bitcoin, it's sensitive politically, and it's sensitive in regulatory circles. The value of the technology has to with how it enables new forms of money movement and data storage that is cryptographically secure, he says.
That really starts to make you think, 'What can that actually do? One idea is a smart contract between two corporations that allows the release of a portion of funds whenever certain parameters are met in the shipment of goods. As more data is stored via blockchain over the next decade or so, other possibilities open up, Leimer says. Leimer says even CEOs at community and regional banks should be learning about the blockchain and talking to their technology providers about it.
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