Martin Walker on Blockchain: “It doesn’t matter if it leads anywhere.”

24. October 2018

On 01 May, a hearing on blockchain and crypto currencies took place before the British Parliament. Martin Walker, Financial Software Product Manager at the Center for Evidence-Based Management, had little to say about blockchain technology in the financial sector. He described it as a fashionable phenomenon without much added value. Time to take a closer look at the blockchain and its areas of application.

One of Martin Walker’s tasks is to optimize decision-making processes at the Center for Evidence-Based Management. It seems that he has already made all the decisions regarding the assessment of blockchain technology in the financial sector.

His hard verdict: blockchain is a fashion

“As far as presentable benefits are concerned,” Walker said at the hearing, “there is little to nothing. Another problem of the blockchain scene is that there is a lot going on in the area of conjecture and theory:

“There’s a big problem in the blockchain world because you like to confuse the word ‘could’ with ‘is’. […] All it takes to turn a credible idea into a fashion is for people to turn off their brains and stop thinking.”

The main problem, Walker continues, is that innovative ideas are already enough to be successful. In this respect, it is not necessary to offer actual solutions – the main thing is to convince the idea. In order to be successful in the “innovation theatre”, it is sufficient to combine proof of concept with the blockchain: “It doesn’t matter whether it leads somewhere”.

Here Walker probably refers primarily to the world of ICOs. Sometimes he may not be wrong; so the use case is often a means to an end. The motto actually often seems to be: first collect money, then see if and how it goes on. It is clear that a well-founded analysis is necessary before any investment. But is the blockchain really as useless as Martin Walker thinks? We don’t think so.

Blockchain applications wrong Martin Walker

Of course, Walker comes from the financial sector and has mainly based his statements on this. But even there, there are solutions that can optimize the infrastructure. As we recently reported, the Spanish BBVA is issuing its loans via the blockchain. But it is above all the view over the finance plate edge that can make the blockchain technology so valuable.

For example, UNICEF Australia is already using Blockchain technology to collect donations for the children’s charity. One simply visits the homepage and makes one’s computing power available for mining – the donations are transferred directly. The United Nations has found a similar area of operation – with the help of the Blockchain they distribute aid money to Syrian refugees via “Building Blocks”. The United Nations also relies on blockchain technology in the fight against child trafficking. If this is really a fad, it is probably one that can be confidently taken part in.

Blockchain technology is also already being used in the education sector. In future, the University of Basel will store course certificates for “Bitcoin, Blockchain and Cryptoassets” on the Ethereum Blockchain. This not only saves the university costs and effort, but also guarantees protection against counterfeiting. The Swedish government has also discovered this advantage of blockchain. Since 2017, the blockchain has been used there to manage entries in the land registry.

With a little research, a few rings could be found in the “innovation theatre” on which the blockchain dances sensibly. If you don’t simply “switch off your brain” with all the little hat players, you can also find out whether the theatre “leads somewhere”.