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The take up of blockchain technology at financial services firms has reached a stage where 96% of business leaders have invested in blockchain, plan to invest in it or realise they should be.
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Only 4% of financial services business leaders did not fall into one of these categories, according to research from recruitment from Robert Half Financial Services.
The study found that 52% had already invested in the technology, 30% are planning to do so and 14% admit they should be considering it.
Blockchain is a distributed ledger that stores a permanent and tamper-proof record of transaction data. Distributed ledgers can be thought of as a type of database but, unlike traditional databases, distributed ledgers are managed through a peer-to-peer (P2P) architecture and do not have a centralised storage.
The technology is beginning to find applications in numerous industries but is more mature in the financial services where it is well known as the technology underpinning bitcoin.
Robert Half Financial Services said financial services firms are looking for staff with blockchain knowledge and experience.
It found that 51% of companies are looking for trading technology skills, while 47% are looking for programming skills in relation to blockchain.
“Overall, 85% of financial services executives believe blockchain will have made a genuine impact on the financial services industry by 2022,” said the report.
“Those that have implemented blockchain already report experiencing benefits, including empowered users (54%), increased transparency (54%) and faster transactions (42%).
“More than half (52%) of respondents that have not yet experimented with blockchain expect it will provide faster transactions, and 44% said they think it will lower transaction costs (44%).
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Matt Weston, director at Robert Half Financial Services, said: “Automation is changing the face of business, and particularly so in the skills and roles in the financial services industry.
“With financial crime and compliance high on the priority lists for many senior leaders in financial services, attracting skilled specialists implantation is key.”
While blockchain is more established in financial services the technology is being applied in many sectors. Its promise of transparent and tamper-proof transaction records is attractive to sectors undergoing digital transformation.
For example, Sweden’s land registry authority, Lantmäteriet, is using blockchain in a pilot system for recording property-related transactions.
The Dubai government is introducing a biometric border checking system which uses blockchain technology to ensure sensitive data can only be seen by the digital passport holder and the relevant authorities.