Billions, trillions-actually it's quadrillions

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4 August 2015
John Dwyer
I am going to start today’s blog post with a short quote from Blythe Masters who was presenting last week at a conference on digital currencies, where she was reported as saying, “It should be fairly obvious that the addressable market for this technology is absolutely gigantic. We’re talking markets that are measured in the trillions, not the billions.” Actually, the dollar value of securities transactions processed each year is measured in the quadrillions. That is the first time I have used the word “quadrillion” in writing but I think I will be using it a lot more in the coming months. The market sizes for possible disruption in capital markets by distributed ledgers/ blockchain technology are absolutely staggering as is the breadth of impact on lowering costs, freeing up capital, reducing counterparty risk, introducing new financial services players, and managing the systemic risk of our financial system. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, we are starting to see different approaches to distributed ledger/ blockchain technology emerge and, frankly, there remain a number of challenges to implementing the right architecture for this technology. However, when you are talking about markets measured in the quadrillions then the financial incentive to innovate and navigate these challenges is arguably larger than any financial incentive in history. Incumbent financial institutions have got to be on the front foot when it comes to understanding the potential impact on themselves and the ecosystem they’re a part of.


  • What are some of the Capital Markets use cases that you see being early adopters of distributed ledgers?
    Many banks are looking at it in internal labs, but the value is really in banks collaborating and testing something together.

  • Use cases focus on reducing duplication of records and accelerated execution in bilateral transactions, intermediated transactions, secured lending, and on-exchange trades. Markets of size with most friction are likely to see the disruption first plus the new emerging areas such as privately-held equity.

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Asia-Pacific, EMEA, LATAM, North America