Blockchain/Distributed Ledger Technology

Martin Walker

We should get some twenty-something guys to come in, some guys who really get it. Then they can tell us how to use blockchain to solve our problems.

– Global head of a trading desk at a major bank

Distilling all the promises made about how “blockchain” (or the closely related concept of distributed ledger technology (DLT), which is a more accurate general term since some evolved versions of the original technology no longer have blocks) can be applied in capital markets offers two visions of the future. These visions are so compelling that the head of trading quoted above may be forgiven for getting impatient with their IT and operations staff. Combine the real problems in capital markets of cost and control with these visions, and you have a recipe for enthusiastic but frustrated business leaders. Sadly, both of the visions that will be described below are very hard for those familiar with the real problems to swallow.

In this chapter, we will attempt the near-impossible – to help the reader understand blockchain, explore those visions of how blockchain could transform finance, consider how practical those visions are, and explore some of the variations of DLT that

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