Jim Cunha is the Senior Vice President of Treasury and Financial Services at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. He knows that blockchain technology is a game-changer. And, according to a Forbes article, his greatest concern relates to the reliability of the developers.
“We use private companies all the time,” Cunha said, according to the article. “I don’t know if we’ll ever do that with cryptocurrency.” Why? Developers use pseudonyms. Scams are rampant. Hacks are consistent. But… the technology is for real.
That leaves the Fed pursuing the technology on its own for the moment. His statement is simple enough to understand, but it strikes at the very core of our industry. We have been plagued by a consistent, almost nagging, series of debacles. If you’re into barnyard metaphor, the blockchain and cryptocurrency movement is the bovine of the fintech world. Every time we’re hit with yet another “nuisance” headline that detracts from the public trust, the industry attempts to swat it away with vigor, reminding folks that, despite the setbacks, the technology behind the snafu is solid.
Indeed, blockchain technology, and the digital currencies which it has spawned, are here to stay. For emerging nations like Kenya, the technology could actually be part of a solution which revolutionizes the country’s infrastructure, means of doing business, and, perhaps, never before seen transparency. When you remember that, you quickly remind yourself that this technology will change lives and impact the social good in ways never before thought possible. It is easy to be romantic about the potential behind blockchain technology.
At Modulus, we’ve long been weary of what the industry has been doing to itself. The hacks, often brought on by a lack of concern about security, especially are offensive to the public trust. It doesn’t much matter that hackers have also hit corporate mainstays like Target and Home Depot. Target and Home Depot don’t have financial advisers and talking heads, ripe with misunderstanding, maligning them at every opportunity. No, the problem facing our industry is unique in its scope and depth. The solution is to prove to folks like Mr. Cunha that there is a subsection of our industry that is dedicated to security. Dedicated to providing clients with an overwhelmingly positive experience built on mutual trust.
The solution is to self-police in a way that sets the standard, rather than simply following it. That’s been my aim for more than two decades, and its why we’ve been trusted by organizations like NASA. Jim Cunha has thrown down the gauntlet. Whoever, within our industry, chooses to pick it up must be able to dedicate themselves and their organization to setting trends, not following them. Security isn’t a “nice-to-have,” pie in the sky idea. It is real, it is necessary, and it will determine whether our industry rises or falls over the next years.
Richard Gardner is the CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and cryptocurrency exchanges.