Blockchain and the Digital Currency Revolution

Early investor Barry Silbert, the next presenter in the UPS Speaker Series, says blockchain technology will forever change global commerce. Here’s how:

When Barry Silbert first heard about a new, frictionless form of digital money that could move person to person without any cost, he had to learn more.

The recovering investment banker – his description, not ours – was running a business that effectively created a stock market for private companies.

barry-silbert-blog-calloutSo he knew a few things about smart investments.

Silbert began investing in so-called virtual currency. He began to see the potential of blockchain, the technology behind digital currencies like Bitcoin.

Blockchain is a global digital ledger where anything of value can be moved or stored. It’s secure, decentralized and completely transparent.

Though blockchain is typically associated with financial services, the technology is drawing interest from leaders across a number of industries.

Put simply, blockchain simplifies transactions, eliminating bottlenecks to global commerce.

Blockchain is also Silbert’s next big project.

Last year, Silbert formed Digital Currency Group, a strategic investment company that helps entrepreneurs, financial institutions and technology investors building the blockchain ecosystem. DCG has invested in more than 80 companies.

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Today’s financial system is the culmination of decades of structures and processes built on legacy systems, which created friction and excessive costs, Silbert argues.

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Money is already moving in digital form. Blockchain is simply the accelerator.

But blockchain provides a blank slate, creating an entirely new system that doesn’t rely on legacy actions.

If you wanted to wire money to London, for example, it’s not as if a bank will send a cargo plane full of hundred dollar bills that night.

And if you don’t get a wire instruction by 5 p.m. on a Friday, that money won’t arrive until Tuesday of next week – at the earliest.

Money is already moving in digital form. Blockchain is simply the accelerator.

This creates new economic opportunity in emerging markets, especially for those who lack access to financial institutions.

You may not have a bank, but you might have a mobile device.

So if you have a cellphone, you now have a bank in your pocket.

That’s transformative. That’s the power of blockchain. goldbrown2

[Also on Longitudes: Unbreakable Blockchains]


Every morning, wake up to the blog that gives you the latest trends shaping tomorrow.

Brian Hughes is Managing Editor of Longitudes and co-host of Longitudes Radio.

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