Beware blockchain: ANZ

The big bank is not impressed by the oft-praised technology that is blockchain.

There has been a lot of hype about blockchain in recent times but now ANZ associate director, trade and supply chain, Maria Bellmas has warned the technology raises many questions.

Ballmas said: "The reality is a lot of the problems blockchain projects attempt to fix have already been solved by existing technologies. In many cases, a regular database can solve for the problem with more reliability and for much less cost than blockchain."

She went on to say the scalability of blockchain has not been proven, while databases that have been on the market for years have a proven record of processing millions of transactions per day.

ANZ is currently participating in a Hong Kong project called eTradeConnect which makes use of blockchain technology.

ANZ banking services domain lead, Nigel Dobson, said the project "is an endorsement not only of the technology but also a broad digitisation strategy within the trade finance world, which is overdue".

However, Bellmas' views on blockchain appear to be slightly different. She said it is far from being the solution to every project that needs a database.

Bellmas points to the Trade Information Network as a trusted registry that is trying to solve the problem of lack of standardisation in trade finance without using blockchain.

She said: "Many companies fall into the trap of admiring the blockchain technology before admiring the problem they are trying to solve."

"It's vital to understand what the end goal is and assess what the options are before starting the work on any project where blockchain is being considered.

"While some projects will benefit from blockchain technology and this has a lot of potential, others do not necessarily need it and are better off using existing good old databases and technology solutions."

Bellmas' views are her own and don't necessarily represent the views of ANZ broadly.

This comes after Financial Standard reported last year that the Commonwealth Bank was ramping up its blockchain projects.

Blockchain is a system in which a record of bitcoin or other cryptocurrency transactions are maintained across multiple computers through a peer-to-peer network. The technology that makes this possible is referred to as distributed ledger technology.

Read more: BlockchainANZBallmasCommonwealth BankFinancial StandardHong KongMaria BellmasNigel DobsonTrade Information Network
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