DigiMag Glacier_Q4_2017 - Page 15

despite the different opinions of regulators on matters such as cryptocurrencies. We are willing to consider the merits and risks of blockchain technology and other distributed ledgers.’ As we begin to see early adopters benefiting from blockchain technology, more and more incumbent institutions will get on board and embrace the new technology paradigm and disrupt from within. Sonya Kuhnel, founder and MD of the Blockchain Academy in South Africa Glacier Research comment Sources: 1. https://www. forbes.com/sites/ bernardmarr/2017/08/10/ practical-examples-of- how-blockchains-are- used-in-banking-and- the-financial-services- sector/#5c1ab0b81a11 2. https://www.pwc.com/ us/en/financial-services/ research-institute/ blockchain.html 3. https://www.ibm.com/ blockchain/financial- services/ 4. http://blog.deloitte. com.ng/5-blockchain- use-cases-in-financial- services/ Blockchain technology and the accompanying cryptocurrency market are novel and exciting technologies that have certainly attracted a lot of media attention this year, particularly within the financial industry. Subsequently, a frenzy of ‘investment buying behaviour’ has seen the price of many cryptocurrencies, bitcoin in particular, experience exponential gains over the past few months. Critics of cryptocurrency and the speculative buying behaviour that accompanies it have warned that the sharp rally experienced is reminiscent of a market bubble. In response to such critics, proponents of the technology have argued that given the technology’s infancy and the ever-growing list of applications for which it can be used, it’s short-sighted to rule that this is just another bubble and that the industry will collapse. Just like other modern-day technologies such as the PC, cellphone, internet and social media, blockchain technology displays signs of tangibly revolutionising the way individuals and institutions could potentially interact and relate going forward. But whichever side of the fence one may lean toward, there are important things to keep in mind when considering cryptocurrency as an alternative ‘asset class’. The price of a cryptocurrency (bitcoin) can unpredictably increase or decrease over a short period of time due to its young economy, novel nature, and sometimes illiquid markets. Lastly, dealing in virtual currencies is at the user’s own risk with no recourse to South African authorities. Since it is unregulated, there’s absolutely no investor protection and any losses incurred are purely the responsibility of the holder.