CIO Forum debate: Blockchain is the most overrated technology in 2017

“If you look at the version number, blockchain is 0.9, bitcoin is 0.14. They are not reaching 1.0. The entire blockchain community is moving very slowly and with great caution,” said Wong of ASTRI.

Apart from technology immaturity, the lack of global standard is also a barrier to blockchain’s widespread adoption.

“2017 would be a pilot of standardization. Without a global standard, it’s hard to push cross border, cross party and bigger scale of DLT transactions,” noted Rogers Chan (pictured, second from left), senior manager of the risk and strategy, CEO’s office at Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). He sat on the affirmative side.

He added that the ISO organization is exploring how the ISO 20022 message standard can be applied to DLT. The standardization will support the interoperability and data interchange among users, applications and systems.

People’s trust of blockchain may be a much bigger challenge to deal with than technology immaturity or lack of standards.

“We see probably a shift from trusting a regulator or a brand to trusting a system,” said Bullock of King & Wood Mallesons.

Affirming Bullock’s view, SFC’s Chan said, “It’s not IT but the culture. Do you really trust this idea? Do you have the change management mentality? This is often the most difficult.”

To embark on the blockchain journey, companies are recommended to start with POCs or production projects on a small scale.

“It’s not going to be a mass market adoption on day one. We can take baby steps,” noted Ho of Standard Chartered. 

“If you haven’t gotten your hands dirty with blockchain, start with a POC now. If you are pretty comfortable, it’s the right time to start making some kind of production for your systems but always start with something small,” said Wong of ASTRI.