06/07/2015

DBS-Blockchain-Hack-LogoLast month, DBS Bank held a blockchain hackathon, sponsored by IBM and Startupbootcamp Fintech. An official blockchain hack hadn’t happened in Singapore before this.It was the first time a bank had shown interest in the potential of digital currencies, and made an event for startups and enthusiasts to showcase their ideas. With generous cash prizes to be won, programmers brought their a-game to show DBS the value of blockchain technology.

The talented hackers came together in teams, professionals and amateurs, to come up with original ideas and a prototype that would introduce digital currency banking services to emerging markets, and take digital currency management to the next level for developed markets.

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Our CEO, Marcelo Garcia Casil, was invited to mentor the teams and help them make sure that their prototypes were functional and of good quality. Here he shares with us his insights on the event and the future of Banks and Digital Currencies.

Q: How were you approached to become a mentor?
StartupBootcamp got in touch with me and asked if I was interested in helping with the hackathon as a blockchain expert. I really liked the idea, since hackathons are a great way of promoting technology adoption, and I thought it was great that DBS was behind it since it’s the first time a mainstream bank has come forward to support blockchain technology.

Q: What do you think of the teams and their work?
Some of the teams presented really good ideas. There was a team who devised a way of visually tracking down every single transaction on the blockchain down to their origination, and they wanted to use it as a compliance tool for AML, which I think would benefit many companies. A few other teams were focused on innovative payments and remittance solutions, one in particular using blockchain as a financing tool for small companies.

Many of the teams who participated are part of the Startup Bootcamp accelerator programme so we’re looking forward to seeing some of their ideas come into fruition in the near future.

Overall it was a really good event with positive outcomes. Not only did it raise awareness about blockchain, it also proved that technology is truly groundbreaking. It has a lot of potential to pave the way for some much needed innovation in the banking space.

Q: How do you think Banks can play a part in the adoption of digital currencies?
I think banks can play a key role if they get involved – and they will. Digital currencies are just one of the many useful products that can be built using blockchain technology. As banks learn more about the technology and become more comfortable with it we’ll start to see interesting initiatives coming from them. Banks need to have more open conversations with FinTech startups, because they are the gurus and they are shaping the blockchain to fully realise its potential. I can see collaborations between banks and startups making Capital Markets 2.0 a reality.

Q: What is Capital Markets 2.0?
It’s a term used to refer to the exchange of digital financial products. These financial products are also known as DX securities (short for Digital eXchange), of which Bitcoin is currently the most popular one, but others are also getting a lot of traction (e.g. digital commodities like XNF, digital bonds, etc.).

Capital Markets 2.0 is still in its infancy and current trading volumes are significantly lower than those of traditional capital markets. However, once issuance of DX securities becomes a common practice and investor appetite grows we’ll see those volumes increase to levels that would attract investment banks and other big players.

Q: What can we expect from DXMarkets in the upcoming months?
We’re getting heavily involved in the blockchain scene and are actively working with our partners to help them develop innovative products, and let them leverage the full DXMarkets platform. Our technology stack is incredibly robust and resilient, and security is our strongest point. Our background is in banking so this is the norm for us.

Unfortunately I can’t share any more details at this stage, but what I can say is that the second half of the year will be an incredibly exciting one.