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Beyond The Blockchain Hype Cycle: In Conversation with Symbiont CEO Mark Smith
Blockchain technology has become the most talked about topic in the financial sector with several banks, tech companies and startups joining forces to explore its potential. Experts believe that the technology will move beyond this hype and will be gradually implemented in the global financial infrastructure, starting this year.
Symbiont, a fintech startup, has been focused on blockchain and distributed ledger technology since 2013. It issued the first Smart Securities on the Bitcoin blockchain in August. The company is developing a platform that allows financial market participants to create programmable versions of traditional securities that take the form of Smart Securities: self-executing digital contracts that are stored in a distributed ledger called a "blockchain".
Mark Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Symbiont, in conversation with Stacey Mankoff, Managing Principal of The Mankoff Company, spoke about the blockchain hype and expressed his concerns over the false information out there.
"Some smart people started to identify the possibilities and then when R3 began, well, that was the tipping point”, Smith said and added that Symbiont has been working on this for three years.
He further pointed out that with this wave of interest and awareness about the technology, two “camps” are being formed in the blockchain space.
"In blockchain, two camps are forming, the disruptive innovators on one hand; and incremental automators on the other. The automators are a powerful group of incumbents clinging to one another, hoping to retain their positions as the trusted intermediaries for the markets”, Smith added. “ Although Symbiont is principally a disruptor, we are 100% ledger agnostic and ideally suited to bridge the gap between Wall Street and the emerging blockchain ecosystem. Smart Securities will work on any blockchain, public or private, and it truly IS the killer app in this space.”
The promise of smart contracts has the potential to improve the financial markets. Symbiont’s proprietary Smart Securities transform the way that security issuance, management, trading, and clearing and settlement take place within global capital markets. Once a security is issued onto the ledger, it acts autonomously, removing the need for traditionally manual mid- and back-office functions.
This automation reduces systematic and counterparty risk, while at the same time enhances transparency and security, thereby eliminating the possibility for tampering and fraud, which lead to knock-on effects like litigation.
Smith is one the panelists at The Mankoff Company's Disruptive Innovation: Blockchain event to be held on February 24 in Chicago and is expected to speak about smart contracts, the future of blockchain and more.