JAX Finance Blog

JAX Finance, 9-12 April 2018
The Conference for Technology in Finance
19
Feb

Blockchain – the future for information sharing applications

Blockchain blog post

Blockcain helps transform problems into possible applications. Source: Unsplash

In this interview, Eoin Woods talks about his blockchain predictions and explains why it is important to understand not only when to use blockchain but also when not to use it.

JAXenter: Why should people start using blockchain?

Eoin Woods: Blockchain is a completely different way of distributing data and building distributed systems without needing complex hierarchical trust relationships.  It looks as if it could be a real driver for change and innovation in a number of industries and it is maturing fast, so it’s a good time to start learning about its possibilities.

JAXenter: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from using blockchain?

Eoin Woods: That blockchain isn’t a good solution for quite a few problems!  When you first meet blockchain you start seeing all problems as possible applications. After you’ve worked with it for a while you realize there are certain characteristics that make a problem a good blockchain application – like the need for cooperation without the central authority.

When you first meet blockchain you start seeing all problems as possible applications.

JAXenter: Should we expect blockchain to dominate the sector of economic transactions in 2018?

Eoin Woods: Blockchain is nowhere near mature enough to dominate any sector in 2018, possibly apart from the press release generation sector.  What I expect in 2018 is for more and more people to understand what blockchains can and can’t be used for and to start looking at it seriously.

JAXenter: Can you tell us more about smart contracts and what are their use cases?

Eoin Woods: Smart contracts are code which manipulates the state of the blockchain and runs within the blockchain environment – typically in a virtual machine within every blockchain node.  Every blockchain implementation has a different type of smart contract, so the good use cases vary, but problems such as conditional value transfer or transaction validation are often neatly solved using a smart contract.

JAXenter: We’ve been talking about the advantages blockchain brings to the finance industry but how about cybersecurity? How can this technology help fight cyber attacks?

Eoin Woods: Possibly.  The peer-to-peer, highly distributed and transparent nature of a blockchain make it highly resistant to certain types of attacks, so blockchain certainly has some interesting characteristics from a security perspective.  It’s not a general solution to cybersecurity though (and of course, brings vulnerabilities and complexities of its own).

JAXenter: What are the new areas in which blockchain is likely to be used this year?

Eoin Woods: Great question.  That’s quite hard to predict because a lot of proof-of-concept work is going on in parallel in different industries.  However I think it’s quite likely that we’ll see more emphasis on blockchain for information sharing applications in 2018.

JAXenter: What milestone do you think blockchain will achieve this year?

Eoin Woods: I think the first small scale production blockchain applications will be achieved in capital markets and I think that developer critical mass around some leading blockchains (like Ethereum and Hyperledger) will probably be achieved.

JAXenter: What will participants be able to take away from your session?

Eoin Woods: They’ll go away understanding what a blockchain can and can’t do and how to get started building their own blockchain application.

Thank you!

Check out JAX DevOps sessions by Eoin Woods

Tuesday, April 10 2018
10:00 – 10:50

Tuesday, April 10 2018
17:00 – 17:50

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