Wall Street giants who attended the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland shared their positive thoughts and enthusiasm for blockchain technology and its potential applications in the financial sector, but this sentiment did not exactly extend to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The blockchain opinions at the Davos conference were given by a diversity of attendees, from a Bank of England official to PayPal’s CEO and from a Goldman Sachs representative to the founder of a major tech startup incubator. Here are some tidbits about what these Wall Street personalities had to say about blockchain:
- The senior adviser to the Bank of England’s governor, Huw Van Steenis, stated that cryptocurrencies are not currently being discussed among economists at the United Kingdom’s top financial regulatory authority. Van Steenis plans to mention blockchain technology and distributed ledgers as part of a report he is preparing about the future of the British economy, but he will not be touching on the current state of cryptocurrency because he does not consider it to be a good store-of-value asset.
- Dan Schulman, CEO of electronic payments giant PayPal, is concerned about the lack of widespread cryptocurrency implementation in the retail sector. Despite this concern, PayPal operates an active blockchain research and development division, and one of its first projects involves offering digital tokens to employees as rewards for optimal performance. It is important to remember that PayPal started accepting cryptocurrency withdrawals from Coinbase accounts.
- Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Circle, the cryptocurrency division of Goldman Sachs, was naturally optimistic about the future of digital currencies, which he deemed as necessary for the development of a digital society.
- BCG Digital Ventures is a venture capital and incubator firm that has founded many financial technology companies such as Lodge, NIST, and WonderBill; at Davos, CEO Jeff Schumacher commented that he believes Bitcoin could one day reach a zero-dollar currency exchange valuation, but he is pretty bullish with regard to blockchain technology. Something that has caught Schumacher’s attention is the decentralization aspect of blockchains, which is a way of doing business that he strongly believes in.
- In a letter to investment clients, JPMorgan Chase’s managing director compared cryptocurrencies to tech stocks in the late 1990s, a period when the stock market was a hotbed of speculation that resulted in a market crash. Jan Loeys believes that cryptocurrency can serve an important purpose in a dystopia; indeed, Bitcoin and other tokens have prevailed in chaotic economies such as Venezuela.