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Towards distributed ledgers, smart contracts & the
decentralization of finance
Alex Makosz
October 8th 2016
u3531054@connect.hku.hk
https://hk.linkedin.com/in/alexmakosz
Barney Frank discusses
why we need
regulations for future
financial technologies
HOW FAMILIAR ARE YOU WITH EACH
OF THE FOLLOWING?
BLOCKCHAIN
SMART CONTRACT
DISTRIBUTED
LEDGER
CRYPTOCURRENCY
DAO
What experts are saying about blockchain tech:
• “The implications are staggering, not just for the financial-services
industry but also right across virtually every aspect of society.” –
CEO Don Tapscott in interview w/ McKinsey
• “In distributed ledger technology, we may be witnessing one of
those potential explosions of creative potential that catalyse
exceptional levels of innovation.” – Distributed Ledger Technology:
beyond blockchain, A report by the UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor
• “we may be entering the peak of the hype cycle for blockchain
and distributed ledger technology. But here’s the thing: blockchain
is a major breakthrough.” – Mariana Dahan, World Bank’s Blog
Gartner’s Hype Cycle - 2016
What is blockchain?
A blockchain, distributed
across a network, is a
technology that effectively
replaces and decentralizes
traditional ledger systems.
What is blockchain?
A block is:
• A record of data
• Contains a digital
signature
• Uses cryptography to
ensure authority &
identity of those who
write the record
• Contains time
information for events
represented in the data
A blockchain is:
• A series of blocks of data
• Ordered chronologically
• All blocks have only
been added after
computational
confirmation of
correctness
Visualizing a Blockchain
Block 1
-events data
-signatures
-time data
Block 2
-events data
-signatures
-time data
Block 3
-events data
-signatures
-time data
Block 4
-events data
-signatures
-time data
Network of Peers/Devices
Every peer in the
network holds all
of the data of the
entire chain
Blockchain Ledger
Distributed
Ledger
How this changes the system of ledgers:
Central authority is
holder of main
ledger and is
ultimate authority.
Ledger is shared by
several authorities
who must confirm
with each other.
No central
authority.
Ledger shared by
all.
Qualities of Distributed Ledger Using
Blockchain
• Virtually impossible to change or erase data in any
block
• All of the data is shared by every computer in the
blockchain network
• No dependence upon any central node or authority
• Can be audited and confirmed
• Can be used in networks with many, many nodes
Differently permissioned distributed ledgers:
Because the system is made of code, permissions can be built directly
into the code governing the chain
Permissions determine:
1. Who can read the data in the chain
2. Who can write new lines for the chain
The future of financial infrastructure -The World Economic Forum, Aug 2016
Current activities surrounding distributed
ledger systems:
The future of financial infrastructure -The World Economic Forum, Aug 2016
Blockchain, Finance & Regulatory Development
Use case 1
Cryptocurrencies
http://www.lordcameltoe.com/mine-dogecoin-asic-miners/
Despite being the most well-known
application of blockchain tech…
https://www.weusecoins.com/en/bitcoin-price/
What most people are familiar with
Examples of cryptocurrencies
Bitcoin was the first, most traded and the most
valuable cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin brought the blockchain into the
mainstream.
Bitcoin represented
a direct response to
these questions
following the world
financial crisis.
https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
Big Idea: Enable transaction without using financial institutions
The broad concept
Cryptocurrencies are just digital cash
The future of financial infrastructure -The World Economic Forum, Aug 2016
Comparison of funds transfer:
How does funds transfer actually happen?
Public Ledgers & Private Keys
Bitcoin Client Your Client Contains:
• Your address (analogous to account number)
• Your private key
Your Private Key
Allows you to make changes to the
ledger contents for your address
The Public Key
Allows others to confirm that the
change requests are truly sent from
your address
Both make use of cryptography to ensure
security
Ways to get Bitcoin
Have your friend send them directly to
your digital wallet!
…so, how did your friend get them?
http://money.cnn.com/infographic/technology/what-is-bitcoin/
Ways to get Bitcoin
Exchange your
fiat currency
for bitcoin on
an exchange!
…so, how did the people on the
exchange get them?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Bitcoin
Ways to get Bitcoin
Mine them
Mining is basically the process of
applying computing power to solve
the complicated computational
problems needed to verify each
new block in the chain is correct.
Mining was once easy with a regular
computer, but has now become the
domain of specialized, highly-
powered and resource intensive
mining industry.
http://wiki.p2pfoundation.net/Bitcoin
http://getbitcoinguide.com/mining-for-bitcoin
Because Bitcoin is:
• Distributed
• Public
• Permissionless
Miners are needed to perform the
computations involved in
confirming each transaction in a
block.
Miners are incentivized to do so
because the code provides them
with a reward of currency each
time a block is solved.
Visualizing a Blockchain
Block 1
-events data
-signatures
-time data
Block 2
-events data
-signatures
-time data
Block 3
-events data
-signatures
-time data
Block 4
-events data
-signatures
-time data
Network of Peers/Devices
Every peer in the
network holds all
of the data of the
entire chain
Blockchain Ledger
Distributed
Ledger
Pros and Cons
Pros
• Massive reduction in
bureaucracy
• Low transaction costs
• High level of ledger
security
• High level of
transparency
• Fraud prevention
• Use-specific currencies
• Privacy
Cons
• Low Uptake/High FUD
• Lose your key, lose your
coins
• Scaling
• Regulation – both
governmental and
within the blockchain
management
• Volatile
Blockchain, Finance & Regulatory Development
Key considerations for understanding further
applications of blockchain technologies:
Digital identity does not need to be tied to a
wallet in a phone or computer.
(think IoT & e-identity)
Because the blockchain is composed of code, it is
possible for it to contain executable commands
that function in response to required conditions.
(think smart contracts)
Data recorded in blockchain ledgers need not
only be financial in nature.
(think titles of ownership, voting records etc.)
What does this imply?
What this
fundamentally
represents:
A way to transfer a
digital asset or
record without the
use of a third party
intermediary and
potentially
including self-
executing
commands.
http://www.pwc.com/us/en/financial-services/publications/cryptocurrency-evolution.html
Expanding Use Cases
Distributed Ledger
Blockchain
Real Estate
&
Property Holdings
Ensuring Authenticity
Diamonds &
Sneakers Decentralized
Autonomous
Organizations
Proxy
Voting
Automated
Compliance
Connection w/
e-identity
(Estonia)
Cryptocurrency
Insurance
Claims
Processing
And many more…
1. Financial Institutions – reduce the back office
2. Ensuring Authenticity of Precious Goods
3. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
Smart Contracts
Contracts can be coded which include:
• the terms of an agreement
• the legal restrictions upon execution of the agreement
• the ability to recognize whether or not terms have been reached
• the capacity to execute the contract
All of this can be done without a 3rd person intermediary
https://blockchainhub.net/smart-contracts/
https://ripple.com/insights/santander-distributed-ledger-tech-could-save-banks-20-billion-a-year/
Financial Institution Incentives
Current back office system works well, but is very costly
Blockchain promises to:
• Massively reduce back office costs
• Reduce transaction settlement time
• Reduce risk
https://www.scribd.com/doc/310534422/Smart-Contract-Templates-1
Financial Institution– Current Example
Financial Institution– Current Example
Estonia Indonesia
Nasdaq is helping other financial markets to use
blockchain in modernizing their financial markets
Estonia now implementing blockchain for
shareholder proxy voting
Financial Institution– Current Example
Among seven firms
that are currently
collaborating on a
blockchain-based data
management trial
system
Ensuring Authenticity
1. Provide physical objects with unique digital
identifiers
2. Include the unique digital identifiers in the
blockchain
3. Track all objects involving that physical object
Ensuring Authenticity– Current Example
http://www.everledger.io/
Ensuring Authenticity– Current Example
http://www.chronicled.com/
Decentralized Autonomous Organization
Features of DAOs
• No central control
• Administered entirely
on the web
• Relationships regulated
through smart contracts
• Does not need
traditional contracts
• High efficiency
• High transparency
• Scalable
• Impartial https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/government-dao-blockchain-
decentralized-autonomous-smart-tori-adams
DAO – Current Examples
Venture Capital firm
• Launched June 2016
• Received USD $150M
in crowdfunding
• Hacked & lost $50M
• Collapsed & returned
remaining funds
Blockchain, Finance & Regulatory Development
Regulator Responses
• Recognize existence of systemic problems
post WFC
• See potential for risk reduction
• Imposed identity requirements on
cryptocurrency exchanges
• Allowing space for financial innovation
Responses will vary by region and by
application of the technology
Blockchain, Finance & Regulatory Development
http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/
Critical Trends – Internet Use
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Internet_usage
Critical Trends – Internet Use
Critical Trends
World Bank Data http://datatopics.worldbank.org/financialinclusion/
Critical Trends
World Bank Data http://datatopics.worldbank.org/financialinclusion/
http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/cutting-through-the-noise-around-
financial-technology
High fin-tech
representation
in retail
applications
Low fin-tech
representation
in large
corporate
applications
It is still very early days of blockchain
The future of financial infrastructure -The World Economic Forum, Aug 2016
Historical Analogies
Old Giants New Giants
Historical Analogies
Old Giants New Giants
Startups backed by VC investment
are rushing to fill this gap
http://www.i-scoop.eu/internet-of-things/
Critical Trends
Converging
Emergent
Technologies
Quantum
Computing
Cloud
Computing
Predictive
Analytics
Robotics/AI
Cognitive
Computing
Bioinformatics
Distributed ledgers
http://historyofbitcoin.org/
What has this
started?
What has this
started?
Expert panels and other excellent videos
Blockchain: Transforming the Future of Global Business
A $1.6 Quadrillion Opportunity - Securities Clearing and Settlement
Barclays’ Smart Contract Templates - presented by Dr Lee Braine,
introduced by Brad Novak
Beyond bitcoin: The future of blockchain and disruptive financial technologies
What's Wall Street Doing With Blockchains?
The future will be decentralized | Charles Hoskinson | TEDxBermuda
What has this
started?
Publications and articles well-worth reading
The future of financial infrastructure
-The World Economic Forum, Aug 2016
Distributed Ledger Technology: Beyond block chain
-A Report by the UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor
What has this
started?
Publications and articles well-worth reading
• Central Bankers Told They Should Be Sprinting Toward Blockchain
• How blockchains could change the world
• 90 Central Banks Seek Blockchain Answers at Federal Reserve Event
• Santander: Distributed Ledger Tech Could Save Banks $20 Billion a Year
• A Strategist’s Guide to Blockchain
• Money is no object: Understanding the evolving cryptocurrency market
• Amazon China’s president on ‘transformative’ technologies
• The Math Behind Bitcoin
• A SIMPLE MODEL FOR SMART CONTRACTS
• The Blockchain Explained to Web Developers, Part 1: The Theory
• Formalizing and Securing Relationships on Public Networks
• e-Estonia initiative progresses with blockchain partnerships
• NASDAQ'S BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY TO TRANSFORM THE REPUBLIC OF
ESTONIA'S E-RESIDENCY SHAREHOLDER PARTICIPATION

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Blockchain, Finance & Regulatory Development

  • 1. Towards distributed ledgers, smart contracts & the decentralization of finance Alex Makosz October 8th 2016 u3531054@connect.hku.hk https://hk.linkedin.com/in/alexmakosz
  • 2. Barney Frank discusses why we need regulations for future financial technologies
  • 3. HOW FAMILIAR ARE YOU WITH EACH OF THE FOLLOWING? BLOCKCHAIN SMART CONTRACT DISTRIBUTED LEDGER CRYPTOCURRENCY DAO
  • 4. What experts are saying about blockchain tech: • “The implications are staggering, not just for the financial-services industry but also right across virtually every aspect of society.” – CEO Don Tapscott in interview w/ McKinsey • “In distributed ledger technology, we may be witnessing one of those potential explosions of creative potential that catalyse exceptional levels of innovation.” – Distributed Ledger Technology: beyond blockchain, A report by the UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor • “we may be entering the peak of the hype cycle for blockchain and distributed ledger technology. But here’s the thing: blockchain is a major breakthrough.” – Mariana Dahan, World Bank’s Blog
  • 6. What is blockchain? A blockchain, distributed across a network, is a technology that effectively replaces and decentralizes traditional ledger systems.
  • 7. What is blockchain? A block is: • A record of data • Contains a digital signature • Uses cryptography to ensure authority & identity of those who write the record • Contains time information for events represented in the data A blockchain is: • A series of blocks of data • Ordered chronologically • All blocks have only been added after computational confirmation of correctness
  • 8. Visualizing a Blockchain Block 1 -events data -signatures -time data Block 2 -events data -signatures -time data Block 3 -events data -signatures -time data Block 4 -events data -signatures -time data Network of Peers/Devices Every peer in the network holds all of the data of the entire chain Blockchain Ledger Distributed Ledger
  • 9. How this changes the system of ledgers: Central authority is holder of main ledger and is ultimate authority. Ledger is shared by several authorities who must confirm with each other. No central authority. Ledger shared by all.
  • 10. Qualities of Distributed Ledger Using Blockchain • Virtually impossible to change or erase data in any block • All of the data is shared by every computer in the blockchain network • No dependence upon any central node or authority • Can be audited and confirmed • Can be used in networks with many, many nodes
  • 11. Differently permissioned distributed ledgers: Because the system is made of code, permissions can be built directly into the code governing the chain Permissions determine: 1. Who can read the data in the chain 2. Who can write new lines for the chain The future of financial infrastructure -The World Economic Forum, Aug 2016
  • 12. Current activities surrounding distributed ledger systems: The future of financial infrastructure -The World Economic Forum, Aug 2016
  • 15. Despite being the most well-known application of blockchain tech…
  • 17. Examples of cryptocurrencies Bitcoin was the first, most traded and the most valuable cryptocurrency. Bitcoin brought the blockchain into the mainstream.
  • 18. Bitcoin represented a direct response to these questions following the world financial crisis. https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf Big Idea: Enable transaction without using financial institutions
  • 19. The broad concept Cryptocurrencies are just digital cash The future of financial infrastructure -The World Economic Forum, Aug 2016
  • 20. Comparison of funds transfer:
  • 21. How does funds transfer actually happen?
  • 22. Public Ledgers & Private Keys Bitcoin Client Your Client Contains: • Your address (analogous to account number) • Your private key Your Private Key Allows you to make changes to the ledger contents for your address The Public Key Allows others to confirm that the change requests are truly sent from your address Both make use of cryptography to ensure security
  • 23. Ways to get Bitcoin Have your friend send them directly to your digital wallet! …so, how did your friend get them? http://money.cnn.com/infographic/technology/what-is-bitcoin/
  • 24. Ways to get Bitcoin Exchange your fiat currency for bitcoin on an exchange! …so, how did the people on the exchange get them?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Bitcoin
  • 25. Ways to get Bitcoin Mine them Mining is basically the process of applying computing power to solve the complicated computational problems needed to verify each new block in the chain is correct. Mining was once easy with a regular computer, but has now become the domain of specialized, highly- powered and resource intensive mining industry.
  • 27. http://getbitcoinguide.com/mining-for-bitcoin Because Bitcoin is: • Distributed • Public • Permissionless Miners are needed to perform the computations involved in confirming each transaction in a block. Miners are incentivized to do so because the code provides them with a reward of currency each time a block is solved.
  • 28. Visualizing a Blockchain Block 1 -events data -signatures -time data Block 2 -events data -signatures -time data Block 3 -events data -signatures -time data Block 4 -events data -signatures -time data Network of Peers/Devices Every peer in the network holds all of the data of the entire chain Blockchain Ledger Distributed Ledger
  • 29. Pros and Cons Pros • Massive reduction in bureaucracy • Low transaction costs • High level of ledger security • High level of transparency • Fraud prevention • Use-specific currencies • Privacy Cons • Low Uptake/High FUD • Lose your key, lose your coins • Scaling • Regulation – both governmental and within the blockchain management • Volatile
  • 31. Key considerations for understanding further applications of blockchain technologies: Digital identity does not need to be tied to a wallet in a phone or computer. (think IoT & e-identity) Because the blockchain is composed of code, it is possible for it to contain executable commands that function in response to required conditions. (think smart contracts) Data recorded in blockchain ledgers need not only be financial in nature. (think titles of ownership, voting records etc.)
  • 32. What does this imply? What this fundamentally represents: A way to transfer a digital asset or record without the use of a third party intermediary and potentially including self- executing commands. http://www.pwc.com/us/en/financial-services/publications/cryptocurrency-evolution.html
  • 33. Expanding Use Cases Distributed Ledger Blockchain Real Estate & Property Holdings Ensuring Authenticity Diamonds & Sneakers Decentralized Autonomous Organizations Proxy Voting Automated Compliance Connection w/ e-identity (Estonia) Cryptocurrency Insurance Claims Processing And many more…
  • 34. 1. Financial Institutions – reduce the back office 2. Ensuring Authenticity of Precious Goods 3. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
  • 35. Smart Contracts Contracts can be coded which include: • the terms of an agreement • the legal restrictions upon execution of the agreement • the ability to recognize whether or not terms have been reached • the capacity to execute the contract All of this can be done without a 3rd person intermediary https://blockchainhub.net/smart-contracts/
  • 36. https://ripple.com/insights/santander-distributed-ledger-tech-could-save-banks-20-billion-a-year/ Financial Institution Incentives Current back office system works well, but is very costly Blockchain promises to: • Massively reduce back office costs • Reduce transaction settlement time • Reduce risk
  • 38. Financial Institution– Current Example Estonia Indonesia Nasdaq is helping other financial markets to use blockchain in modernizing their financial markets Estonia now implementing blockchain for shareholder proxy voting
  • 39. Financial Institution– Current Example Among seven firms that are currently collaborating on a blockchain-based data management trial system
  • 40. Ensuring Authenticity 1. Provide physical objects with unique digital identifiers 2. Include the unique digital identifiers in the blockchain 3. Track all objects involving that physical object
  • 41. Ensuring Authenticity– Current Example http://www.everledger.io/
  • 42. Ensuring Authenticity– Current Example http://www.chronicled.com/
  • 43. Decentralized Autonomous Organization Features of DAOs • No central control • Administered entirely on the web • Relationships regulated through smart contracts • Does not need traditional contracts • High efficiency • High transparency • Scalable • Impartial https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/government-dao-blockchain- decentralized-autonomous-smart-tori-adams
  • 44. DAO – Current Examples Venture Capital firm • Launched June 2016 • Received USD $150M in crowdfunding • Hacked & lost $50M • Collapsed & returned remaining funds
  • 46. Regulator Responses • Recognize existence of systemic problems post WFC • See potential for risk reduction • Imposed identity requirements on cryptocurrency exchanges • Allowing space for financial innovation Responses will vary by region and by application of the technology
  • 50. Critical Trends World Bank Data http://datatopics.worldbank.org/financialinclusion/
  • 51. Critical Trends World Bank Data http://datatopics.worldbank.org/financialinclusion/
  • 53. It is still very early days of blockchain The future of financial infrastructure -The World Economic Forum, Aug 2016
  • 55. Historical Analogies Old Giants New Giants Startups backed by VC investment are rushing to fill this gap
  • 59. What has this started? Expert panels and other excellent videos Blockchain: Transforming the Future of Global Business A $1.6 Quadrillion Opportunity - Securities Clearing and Settlement Barclays’ Smart Contract Templates - presented by Dr Lee Braine, introduced by Brad Novak Beyond bitcoin: The future of blockchain and disruptive financial technologies What's Wall Street Doing With Blockchains? The future will be decentralized | Charles Hoskinson | TEDxBermuda
  • 60. What has this started? Publications and articles well-worth reading The future of financial infrastructure -The World Economic Forum, Aug 2016 Distributed Ledger Technology: Beyond block chain -A Report by the UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor
  • 61. What has this started? Publications and articles well-worth reading • Central Bankers Told They Should Be Sprinting Toward Blockchain • How blockchains could change the world • 90 Central Banks Seek Blockchain Answers at Federal Reserve Event • Santander: Distributed Ledger Tech Could Save Banks $20 Billion a Year • A Strategist’s Guide to Blockchain • Money is no object: Understanding the evolving cryptocurrency market • Amazon China’s president on ‘transformative’ technologies • The Math Behind Bitcoin • A SIMPLE MODEL FOR SMART CONTRACTS • The Blockchain Explained to Web Developers, Part 1: The Theory • Formalizing and Securing Relationships on Public Networks • e-Estonia initiative progresses with blockchain partnerships • NASDAQ'S BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY TO TRANSFORM THE REPUBLIC OF ESTONIA'S E-RESIDENCY SHAREHOLDER PARTICIPATION