Cathy Bessant, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the second biggest bank in the United States, Bank of America, has expressed bearish views of the blockchain technology despite the 82 blockchain patents that the BOA has applied for.
Blockchain Revolution? Don’t Believe It
Much has been said of the huge potential that the blockchain technology possesses and the capacity it has to revolutionize the technological world and how data, transactions, etc. are conceived. Blockchain, the underlying technology has garnered praises and respect from many financial and fintech influencers despite their scathing assessments of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Many believe blockchain holds the key to the next wave of tech revolution like the internet did, but the decentralized technology has had its few share of critics: and it doesn’t even matter if they are ordering one blockchain patent after another.
Cathy Bessant, the Chief Technological Officer at Bank of America and 2018’s most powerful woman in banking, had said of the 15 patents that her bank had garnered three years back:
“As a technologist, the technology is fascinating. We have tried to stay on the forefront. I think we have somewhere around 15 patents, most people would be surprised at Bank of America with patents in the blockchain or cryptocurrency space.”
Fast forward three years into 2019 and eighty-two blockchain patents in the bag and Bessant is dismissive of the potential of the blockchain technology. Institutions have regularly lauded the nascent technology and praised its use case as cutting across all fields from finance to health to shipping, but only very few have backed up their effusive claims with an implementation on a global scale.
According to Bessant, the Bank of America is just doing all it can to stay at the forefront of things and to be a leading pioneer if blockchain proves to be the revelation that everybody claims. However, as of the present, blockchain has no particular excellent use case.
“I haven’t seen one [use case] that even scales beyond an individual or a small set of transactions,” Bessant commented. All of the big tech companies will come and say ‘blockchain, blockchain, blockchain.’ I say, ‘Show me the use case. You bring me the use case, and I’ll try it’. […] I want it to work. Spiritually, I want it to make us better, faster, cheaper, more transparent, more, you know, all of those things.”
All Tactical Plays?
Bessant statement might just confirm Michael—blockchain specialist at ConsenSys who worked at BOA for 11 years— Wuehler’s sentiments who said most of the blockchain patents were meaningless and only filed for press coverage to make BOA seem progressive. There are also gentle murmurs that Bessant is only airing her bearish views to discourage other competitors from veering into the blockchain space.