Blockchain, the technology underlying the digital currency Bitcoin, has sparked intense interest across industries from banking and trading to agriculture and music. Large-scale deployment of the technology, a digital ledger of identifies and transactions, could be years away. Yet the level of commitment to testing and development, especially in financial services, shows how seriously blockchain is viewed in the corporate world.
The power of blockchain lies, advocates say, in its inherent security, which can establish trust directly among parties in a transaction, making it possible to remove the middlemen that currently serve that function. Entire industries, such as clearinghouses in financial trading or title-search firms in real estate, conceivably could be displaced, slashing costs and cutting the time required to complete a transaction. The impact, they say, could be massive.