Gunther Sonnefeld on next gen crypto technologies and the disruption of the major banks

Photo: Gunther Sonnenfeld

Gunther Sonnenfeld is a Partner at Novena Capital (iBank) and Next Block Group (fund), whose focus is on social and environmental impact ventures using blockchain/DLT.

This week, the online journal Crypto news published a revealing article on Bank of America’s (BofA) blockchain patents: Banking Giant Prepares for Crypto Mass Adoption

The article ends with the following quote:

“We’ve got under 50 patents in the blockchain/distributed ledger space. While we’ve not found large-scale opportunities, we want to be ahead of it, we want to be prepared,” Bank of America’s chief technology officer, Catherine Bessant, was quotes as saying by Fortune in June.

It was therefore extremely interesting to read Gunther’s take on this article, given his interested in the way in which blockchain and related technologies are disrupting the incumbent players:

The last sentence says it all – and this is the major chink in BofA’s ‘armor’: “We’ve got under 50 patents in the blockchain/distributed ledger space.

While we’ve not found large-scale opportunities, we want to be ahead of it, we want to be prepared,” Bank of America’s chief technology officer, Catherine Bessant, was quoted as saying by Fortune in June. Good luck with that.

They haven’t found ‘large-scale opportunities’ because they’re not realizing that next gen blockchain/DLT innovations are heading towards a truly decentralized Internet. If that’s the case (and it is), then all those patents are rendered irrelevant.

To boot, the bank – like many others – are technically insolvent, overloaded with debt and fractional notes (depositor loan-outs) that greatly exceed any ‘assets’ on hand.

So when crypto is ‘mass adopted’, do they or any other large bank really think that they will have domain over the self-distributive transactional networks that are already proliferating? The alternative asset pools that become self-sustaining? There will be no need for large banks!

Reference

I like Gunther’s analysis as it really makes the implicit collective centralised mental models of banking explicit and the way in which they are failing to truly understand or make reference to decentralised networks.

Gunther is also someone considering the widest possible contexts for maximising the potential of crypto-related technologies, and exploring how they can contribute positively to social and environmental projects through the Smart Ecologies framework. To find out more please see my previous article: Holochain, Holonomics, Smart Ecologies and the Future of the Internet

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