On Monday and Tuesday this week, I had the distinct pleasure of taking part in the Africa 3.0 conference in Nairobi. I wrote an article on LinkedIn about the notable impression this conference made upon me. You can read the full article here:
Areiel just posted an article on LinkedIn, reacting to the views many people are sharing about Facebook’s announcement of the Libra payment solution.
Check it out…
Pynk Tank — the social engagement platform that accompanies the wildly successful Pynk colloaborate investment platform — launched their live streamed show on Thursday 13 June, and invited Finserv Experts managing director Areiel Wolanow to take part in the festivities.
The inaugural show focused on blockchain for social good, and went out to over 4,000 viewers. You can find a recording of the show on Pynk Tank’s Facebook page:
Finserv Experts congratulates its Digital Transformation Ambassador @Emma McClarkin MEP for an outstanding performance in today’s debates. The ability to select your own leaders is a right denied most people in the world. Don’t take it for granted; we urge everyone living in the EU, regardless of which party they support, to go to the polls this Thursday and make your voice heard.
(photo from BBC)
Finserv Experts is very pleased to announce that managing director Areiel Wolanow has been named as the Solutions and Business Models ambassador for the London Blockchain Foundation (LBCF). There are of course many blockchain groups in London, but in a very short few months LBCF has become the most influential and eminent. Like many such groups, LBCF hosts a regular series of events featuring key thought leaders. The LBCF events have been excellent, but this represents only a fraction of what the group is working on. LCBF members advise on DLT-related regulations, are active in Parliament’s working group on blockchain, and are working on partnerships with several notable blockchain-focused accelerators. Most exciting of all, Finserv Experts will be partnering with LBCF to facilitate full-bore blockchain solutioning workshops, in which the collective capability of the LBCF members is made available to people and companies who are looking to use blockchain to address not only business problems but social issues as well. We are very excited to be working with LBCF to make a difference.
Greetings all. I am delighted to announce that. Emma McClarkin MEP has agreed to join Finserv Experts as our Digital Transformation Ambassador. Emma has served for the past ten years as a U.K. representative in the European Parliament representing East Midlands. In this time she has earned a reputation for expertise in trade finance and intellectual property, and established herself as the Parlaiment’s leading expert on Blockchain. Emma and I have a fair bit in both serve on APPG Blockchain, and she delivered opening comments at the Parliamentary Blockchain Showcase where Charles Ayorinde, Vikas Kumar, and I demonstrated the DLT prototype commissioned by Lloyd’s of London on behalf of the LMTOM program. Finally, Emma and I have both authored chapters in Antony Welfare’s book on commercialising commercialising blockchain. Finserv Experts is a small firm, so we all wear a lot of hats, but Emma’s main role will be bringing the value that we can add to a completely new group of stakeholders and experts, which she will be doing this week at the Blockchain Summit in Dubai. We are thrilled to have Emma on board, and look forward to a successful and enjoyable partnership.
I just arrived home from this evening from the first week working with my new client, the Digital Trust team at T-Systems, and my mind is spinning with ideas.
Over the coming months, I am going to be working with this team to define a set of product offerings that make the most of the investment and capabilities that T-Systems has already developed in the DLT space. Naturally, a good portion of my time this first week was spent beginning to get an understanding of what the team had already accomplished. The quality of thought that this team has displayed in its solutioning impressed me in a number of ways, but what I find myself thinking about the most is the work they’ve put into a DLT use case I have not spent any time exploring until now: discrete manufacturing process control.
I have to admit that the idea of driving a manufacturing assembly line with real-time decisions made by blockchain smart contracts did not strike me as intuitively obvious. Assembly lines might manufacture goods for different clients, but typically on behalf of a single manufacturing enterprise; I failed to understand how having DLT drive assembly decisions would add value. Could you accomplish the same thing less expensively with a single, non-distributed application? Where was the potential for world-changing transformation that we see with other DLT use cases?
The way that the Digital Trust team chose to illustrate that potential was nothing short of brilliant. Being part of Deutsche Telekom affords access to a wide variety of capabilities, and in this instance the team really made the most of that: they constructed a working model assembly line which actually took instructions in real time from a blockchain smart contract.
This is the model assembly line they built. It is a mini manufacturing rig that assembles and packages model widgets with embedded RFID tags. There are several assembly options, and the configuration of those options is driven by an Ethereum smart contract.
This working model illustrated — in a way that PowerPoint slides never could, how truly revolutionary the potential is. When we think of disintermediation, we tend to think of brokerages, professional services like accountancy or law, and other facilitators of the information economy. Until I saw this machine, it never occurred to me that manufacturing itself could be disintermediated. Startups and medium enterprises would be able to share expensive and specialized equipment they could otherwise never afford. Smaller medical facilities could do likewise with the most modern diagnostic and imaging tools. Entire factories could tool themselves to meet the needs of separate, small-batch units of demand in real time.
I will need to think about this some more, do some research, and validate ideas with people who have a lot more experience in this area than I do. But the possibility for change here is vast, and my intuition says its full potential won’t be realized until someone can articulate a business and process model that could never have existed without this breakthrough.
That someone is may be the Digital Trust team at T-Systems. They certainly have a head start, and this is only one of several really interesting ideas they have cooking. This team is looking way beyond the standard payment, token, or supply chain solutions that everyone else is building. I am really excited about working with them on this.
We are pleased to announce that Finserv Experts has reached an agreement to work with T-Systems in developing DLT solutions. T-Systems is a global ICT provider and is part of the Deutsche Telekom global enterprise. The development team within T-Systems has made significant investments in blockchain, and have developed an impressive set of capabilities. Finserv Experts will be working with this team and with the T-Systems product marketing team to develop a set of targeted product offerings that deliver measurable business benefits to T-Systems customers.
We are honored and thrilled to have T-Systems as our newest client!
22 January 2018
Finserv Experts managing director Areiel Wolanow gave evidence this evening for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain. Areiel spoke on the transformative potential for blockchain in the insurance industry, and cited work carried out by Finserv Experts consultants here in Indonesia, Kenya, and here in the London Market.
Here is a written transcript of his remarks…
Areiel Wolanow is the Managing Director of Finserv Experts, an independent consultancy that provides advisory and delivery services for technology-enabled business transformation. Areiel has been working with blockchain solutions since 2014. At IBM, Areiel was asked to create their blockchain services practice for the ASEAN region; in this role he was responsible for selling and delivering IBM’s very first blockchain consulting project: a trade finance prototype for HSBC and Bank of America. Areiel has advised central banks and financial regulators around the world on blockchain adoption, and most recently led the delivery of a working DLT prototype for Lloyd’s of London and the London insurance market. He is currently engaged in designing a mobile-based microinsurance solution for natural disasters in Indonesia
In many industries, blockchain is thought of first and foremost as a tool for disintermediation. While this is also true to some extent in the insurance industry, significant disintermediation has already taken place in our lifetimes, well before blockchain was invented. Thirty years ago, retail brokers were the primary distribution channel for motor, home, and life insurance. Today, retail brokers are almost non-existent, aggregators and direct consumer search have been proven to meet the needs of insurance buyers at a much lower cost than brokers were able to meet.
Nevertheless, blockchain has the potential to be a major disruptor for how insurance is delivered in several key ways. Blockchain provenance solutions, for instance, can provide assurance that insured goods are genuine, reducing the incidence of fraudulent claims and thereby the overall cost of insurance delivery. Blockchain market solutions, similar to the prototype we developed for Lloyd’s, can significantly lower the cost of placing large, complex insurance contracts, as well as the cost of administering claims. Currently, when an insurance contract is placed in the London market, many parties need to create their own record of the same contract in their individual IT systems. This leads to huge amounts of work in re-keying and reconciliation; it also is the root cause of many errors or gaps in quality. By enabling multiple parties to share a single version of the truth, blockchain solutions can at the same time reduce cost and increase the quality of delivery. This allows insurance professionals to spend far less time on administrative tasks and more time selling and directly supporting clients. The magnitude of these cost savings is dramatic – there are several solid empirical evidence sets of administrative cost reductions of 80%-90%
But perhaps the single greatest change to insurance that blockchain can make possible is in the realm of microinsurance. Insurance has never been available to most people in the world because the cost of administering a £200 policy is not that different from the cost of administering a £2,000,000 policy. For instance, Finserv Experts is right now working on a project that will make natural disaster insurance available to people living in Indonesia. In the event of a disaster, such as the recent tsunamis, the policy would provide a minimum of one year’s income. It would be paid parametrically – no claim investigation would be required. The policy could be taken out via mobile phone, and the claim paid via mobile phone as well. The ability of a community to recover from these disasters will be completely transformed.
Guidance for lawmakers
There are two pieces of guidance I would like to offer
First, blockchain is one of the few areas in which businesses would welcome more regulation rather than less. The benefits of DLT are increasingly well understood, but innovators are still wary of taking risks because of the level of uncertainty about whether or not a given business model will ultimately be allowable. In the fintech space, the UK already has a great reputation for forward-thinking policy. By providing a clear framework under which blockchain-based business can operate, lawmakers can both capitalize on and further differentiate the UK’s thought leadership.
Second, and far more important, I would like to invite our lawmakers to consider directly sponsoring microinsurance initiatives here in the UK. The benefits of making insurance of all kinds available and affordable to everyone in the UK. The benefits go way beyond mitigation of risk. Affordable insurance will make it possible for far more people to buy homes, start businesses, and otherwise engage in more productive, successful, and fulfilling lives.