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FinTech Revolution Workshop Explores Applications of Blockchain

On March 17, the Center for Financial Markets and Policy at Georgetown University held a workshop on the FinTech Revolution, including aspects of blockchain and digital currency which have the potential to change the financial services industry. Startup Hoyas and Georgetown Fintech also collaborated on the event.

The event consisted of five panels/speakers: Data and FinTech, Blockchain 101, FinTech and Regulation, Entrepreneurship and Fintech, and A Strategic Vision for the Fintech Revolution. Speakers included Sumit Agarwal from the Georgetown McDonough School of Business, Jason Brett with the Digital Chamber of Commerce, Sandeep Dahiya from the Georgetown Center for Financial Markets & Policy, Jordan Kruger at Bloq, John Zecca with MarketWatch and NASDAQ, and Michael Meyer from Middlegame Ventures.

One interesting application of the blockchain came during the Blockchain 101 panel, and discussed the use of blockchain to trace tainted food. Specifically, the speaker cited Chipotle’s difficulty in tracking down the exact source of food that caused E-Coli outbreaks in early 2016. In the future, companies could use the immutable registry of the blockchain to exactly trace the origin of the food it supplies to its restaurants. Similarly, Walmart has tested the blockchain to track and monitor food, including U.S. produce and Chinese pork.

Another supply chain solution using blockchain that was discussed was IBM’s partnership with shipping giant Maersk. This partnership also has the potential to transform supply chain technology and planning.

Other applications and aspects of the blockchain that were discussed included websites that rely heavily on big data services (such as Amazon Web Services or CloudFlare), the IBM Bluemix cloud plaform, governments becoming involved in creating their own digital fiat currencies, and the observation that financial services professionals have benefited more than consumers have from the past few decades of innovation in financial services.

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