Among enthusiasts and sceptics: cryptocurrency, blockchain and AI

By: Tomas Blomquist, Professor in Business Administration, Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics, Umeå University Aug 2019

The World Federation of Exchanges’ Technology Conference 2019 took place at Umeå University, Sweden at the beginning of July. I found the line-up of speakers excellent, with carefully selected subjects and well-prepared speakers. The programme provided a unique opportunity to discuss technology, possible disruptive innovations, and effects on regulation.

When listening to the speakers, or the conversations during the lunches and breaks, I was reminded of a Ph.D. study by Mary Jo Hatch. She looked at the mainframe computer industry during the early 1980s and used ironic humour to tackle the wholesale changes and innovations that came with the sector, with comments like "this industry is going down the drain!”

Will we see similar wholesale changes take place in the market infrastructure industry? Will the exchange of assets change with the new fintech initiatives on the horizon? Innovation in blockchain, crypto, and artificial intelligence is likely to develop market actors that will require enhanced cybersecurity and protection, combined with close relations with policymakers and regulatory bodies. Indeed, security and regulation will be essential in order for individuals to maintain trust in the financial and monetary system, particularly as the usage of money is increasingly changing from notes and coins to electronic forms.

The conference gave room for both enthusiasts and sceptics to discuss these ground-breaking innovations and new technologies.