Tech

Technological highlights from 2019 and a look at the year ahead

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1. What has been the biggest development in blockchain and DLT (distributed ledger technologies) during 2019?

There are a number of things I would highlight. For starters, the Libra and Calibra announcement from Facebook and its partners has accelerated the adoption of blockchain and the discussion, research and focus of regulators, governments and institutions (public and private) on the impact of CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) and digital money.

Secondly, the evolution of maturity of consortiums and permission or federated networks moving to production. In tandem with this, the evolution of regulation and maturity of projects working with digital assets. This includes the regulated launches of STOs (security token offerings) around the world.

I would also highlight the significant growth of DeFi (Decentralized Finance), and Open finance projects, as well as the increase in users and protocols surrounding the evolution of Web 3.0 -an the new platforms, protocol and Decentralized Apps (DApps) this will support.

For BBVA, it’s been a continuous process of learning and bringing those learnings into the business. In 2019 BBVA has continued the creation of capabilities moving from the learning paths and PoC of past years to focus on concrete business value propositions for customers and clients.

2. How has this, or how will it impact customer and clients going forward?

For me there are two real core areas: Firstly, in terms of how banks operate. So we will see improvements in UX and how efficiencies (price, cost, traceability, and programmability of assets) are generated. More than that, it has the real potential to improve accessibility to financial services – and that can only be a good thing.

“Web 3.0 and the convergence of technologies is super exciting and has the potential for a paradigm shift in how the online world operates”

3. Looking to 2020, what potential development excites you the most and why?

The evolution of digital and programmable money projects and digital identity initiatives around the world will allow real integration of money and identity in the digital economy and society, and what we now understand as the internet.

CDBC (Central Bank Digital Currency) has the potential to change the relationships between, banks, citizens, and countries.

Regulated services being able to interact with digital assets, will allow users, customers, and investors to interact with assets with more efficiencies, and allow the creation and use of a whole new kind of digital assets (financial and nonfinancial).

Web 3.0 and the convergence of technologies is super exciting and has the potential for a paradigm shift in how the online world operates.

4. How will this impact the way in which customers and clients access financial services in the future?

It’s really about how the technologies being developed are brought to market to improve the experience of customers – either in terms of specific new capabilities (advisory, personalisation, financing opportunities, new types of assets, etc.) or in terms of speed and efficiency for businesses.

One other area though, I think developments in open finance, DeFi and blockchain use cases will have a significant, positive, impact on how banking can become even more inclusive and at the same time contribute more to sustainability. For example, blockchain and digital assets could scale up sustainability by supporting sustainable finance, providing traceability of carbon emissions and fair value distribution on digital platforms over all the stakeholders and not only overshare holders.

5. Long term, how do you see things like blockchain and disruptive technologies heading – if you could peer ten years into the future, what will have changed and why?

In 10 years from now we will not be talking about blockchain, but about pure digital society, (Web 3.0) and how the combination of different transformational technologies and science has helped to have a more proper, fair, trust-based and sustainable society based around data and AI.

Blockchain has the potential to disintermediate all the industries, but especially offer everyone access to financial services; and make real the transition from data silos to data atmosphere were all the people could benefit in a trusted and fair way utilising the power of AI.

Anxo López: “We strive to push boundaries and enhance the role technology plays in the future of banking”

Anxo López is the Design Strategy Manager at BBVA’s global Design team. Anxo holds a Ph.D. for his dissertation covering the topic of design as an economic activity in the Spanish industry of the 21st century. From his position as a designer doing a variety of projects, he started to care about design as a strategic function. He has taught classes and conferences in places such as IE, IESE, SCAD, IED, ESNE, UAX, BAU, among others. He is a member of the Madrid Designers’ Association (Dimad) Board of Directors and a member of the Galician Design Association (DAG).

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