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The Chief of Tech and Operations at Bank of America Cathy Bessant said in an interview that she is rather skeptical of the ‘new’ technology. This is although Bank of America – the second largest financial corporation in America – boasts about 82 blockchain-related patents. She explained that beyond the bank’s ‘official view,’ she personally maintain a bearish stand on the so-called ‘holy grail of transactions.’
This is a rather strong stand for a top executive who has assumed leading roles in the banking giant since 2010, while the corporation itself has filed and/or acquired up to 82 different blockchain-related patents; that is one of the highest number of patents filed for or acquired in the finance industry.
Relating to the obvious contradiction, Bessant explained that the bank is merely preparing itself for, and if, blockchain actually delivers the potential that crypto enthusiasts believe it possesses. This is a smart move to help retaining the bank’s relevance in such a future. Bessant explained that her skepticism stems from the fact that there are no use cases for the overhyped technology. She claims she will believe in the technology if anyone can show a use case that is beyond aiding small transactions between trading partners. Due to its ‘lack of relevance,’ she asserted that she doubts the tech will amount to anything in the near future – or ever.
While the pool of crypto enthusiasts is saturated with optimistic views, there are, in fact, quite a few who have high doubts about blockchain technology. Of course, Bessant is not alone in this category. Several analysts and ‘who is who’ in the finance and business world have, at one time or another, expressed their deep concerns about cryptocurrency and its underpinning technolgy – Blockchain. Economist Nouriel Roubini once described it as the most overhyped technology in history.
Notwithstanding, blockchain has grown with leaps and bounds since its inception. In fact, the industry experienced a slight increase this past year as companies are channeling their capital from crypto projects to blockchain-based initiatives due to the prolonged crypto winter which started in 2018. Statistics show that about $5.4 billion was pumped into blockchain startups in 2018. This is more like a far cry (positively though) from $1.5 billion recorded in 2017 when the crypto craze was at its peak.